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A0071404U Ang Yuan Xia-(W15) - NM1101E Facebook and Privacy...

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NM1101E Facebook and Privacy Name: Ang Yuan Xia Matriculation No.: A0071404U Tutorial group: W15
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Facebook is one the most popular social networking sites, but there is a severe lack of privacy protection for its users. Despite this, people continue using Facebook and disclosing large amounts of personal information, which could be misused through identity theft. Although Facebook has a well-covered privacy policy, it is not without its flaws. (Jones, Soltren, 2005) If we examine Facebook’s privacy policy closely, which most people do not bother to read, it is clear that Facebook allows users’ information to be disclosed to third parties, such as advertisers. This is legal as it is in the privacy policy. However, 46% of Facebook users thought that Facebook could not distribute their information to third parties. (Jones, Soltren, 2005) Therefore, even though the survey results in Figure 1 suggest that most people are aware of their privacy settings and have changed them, they may not have been aware of the details of Facebook’s privacy policy. Furthermore, changing the privacy settings does not make a person unsusceptible to identity theft or hacking. This is evident in the case of Student C in the survey, where he had his account hacked and information removed. In the survey conducted to understand why people use Facebook and their privacy concerns, 5 individuals aged 17 to 21 were interviewed. Generally, the participants in the survey view Facebook as somewhat important in their lives. After all, it is the social networking site that has redefined how we interact through social media, by allowing users to stay in contact with their friends with ease. (Detabin, Lovejoy, Horn, Hughes, 2009) Because joining a social networking site means having to enter some form of personal data, there is an entire database of detailed information gathered in one place, which causes risks to privacy. They are also likely to use real data if they do provide data at all. (Jones, Soltren, 2005) As seen in the survey results, details like their full names, schools they were attending, and pictures of themselves were included. The only exception was the physical address, which none had put up. This is likely because the participants were more cautious and selective of the type of information that they put up. (Acquisti, Gross, 2006) Many Facebook users have friends that they do not personally know, which could be potential threats since they have access to their personal information. (Detabin, et al., 2005) According to the survey (Fig.1), out of the 5 students surveyed, they each have an average of 19.6% of friends whom they do not personally know. This shows the risk of having a “friend” that might invade and steal private information. In the case of Student A and C, even close friends could possibly misuse your Facebook account for the sake of personal amusement. The victim is then left to decide how to cope thereafter, where he could change privacy settings or treat the incident as a lesson learnt. (Detabin, et al., 2005)
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