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Analysis of Sharing Content on Social Platform, it’s ethical concerns and how it can be used to build and strengthen ties within online communities and social networks.

ABSTRACT

This paper is based on the analysis of Social media usage, in regarding to the sharing of the content on Social platform like Facebook, its ethical concerns and how it can strengthen ties within the users or general public. Analysis of different aspect of ethical issues faced by the user is done along what’s the possible or right way to share data or content without being vulnerable to hackers or surveillance. Moreover, this paper future explains how, by putting restriction, these concerns or issues can tackled and usage of the social media can be used in more awareness and building up social communities.

INTRODUCTION

With the usage of social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp comes the privacy concerns or ethical concerns, but out of all these platforms, Facebook is the one, that causes the ethical concerns such as privacy risk or identity theft. Due to fact that on Facebook, users tend to share their personal information like their GPS location, date of birth, phone number or sharing personal images, makes them more vulnerable for identity theft or impact their future endeavors based on personal information they provide in these platforms. “Social networking platforms (e.g., Facebook) and cloud computing (storing information online) provide cybercriminals with additional means of attack” (Ramsey & Venkatesan 2010).  

On the contrary, that’s not to say Social media doesn’t help us towards connecting or establishing a stronger bond with one another. With the usage of social platform like Facebook, users can share ideas or make a new friends circle, which converts into community building. The crux of this conference paper is to establish, up to which extend or point, the data sharing is safe for user and from where the privacy risk emerges.

sharing of content helps build online communities and strengthen ties within online social networks

According to the research by the (Popescu, 2019), there is correlation between, how the users behave and how strong their ties are, within the community, that is, users tends to mold their behavior according to the necessity or need for strong ties within the group or communities. User tends to do personal branding, in order to achieve social acceptance and validation by reinventing themselves, that is, by controlled usage to Social networking sites (SNSs). Users portrays themselves as a part of community to which they want stronger bond or ties. In simpler words – molding according to environment or need is the key seen by the users as a requirement, when comes to SNSs.

According to the (Sitter & Curnew, 2016), SNSs are the place , where audiences from any field can engage with one another , share ideas or work related tasks or information. There are three forms of SNSs engagement, that is, platform integration, call-to-action and blending offline or online, via which users interact with one another. To this end, personal identity coexists with social identity in a fluid continuation between the online and offline.

Furthermore, According to (Mathiyalakan et al., 2018), SNSs can also be used in academic learning, that is, instructors can use social media to enhance students learning experience and involvement by implementing communicating, collaborating and resource sharing tool.

Usage of Impression Management and SNSs responsibilities.

According to the (Zhu & Bao, 2018), the impression management refers to process by which user tends to control social image of themselves by conveying or regulating information in social interaction. There are more concerns regarding, how the public or our friends perceive us as a user on social platforms, so via implementing the impression management, that is. by disclosing positive aspects of themselves such as appropriate behaviors, gives great sense of security but which could also result in passive SNSs usage. Thus, onus lies on SNSs as well, in order to regulate views on social media posts by other users or by enabling users to acquire complete permissions of controlling their contents posted or shared on SNSs.(Zhu & Bao, 2018)

Identity theft and miss information

Identity theft and privacy breaches are nothing new, when comes to social platforms like Facebook. All the personnel information present on the Facebook is very open for the taking, if the privacy setting is not taken or done in an effective manner. The recent example is the breach in the Apple Company servers to collect the personnel data of several celebrities by the hacker, by creating a fake accounts or stealing data, which is already present in those servers and lessons learned by the Apple is to establish more stronger encryption or privacy setting to protect its users.

According to (Schofield & Joinson, 2008; Whitty & Joinson, 2008), having a privacy breach or stolen data, can be a cause of some serious alarms, such as Social, financial or psychological impact on users personnel life, due to fact having personnel data breaches like personal picture or videos stolen can cause embarrassment within the social circle or the hacker could demand the ransom or to make thing more worse the hacker can use this data to do an identity fraud by using all these details to get money from users banks. (Saeri et al., 2014)

“Embarrassing photographs or “private” conversations may be disseminated to any number of individuals (Whitty & Joinson, 2008), or personally identifiable information may be stolen for identity fraud” (Electronic Frontiers Australia, 2006). The psychological impact on the user, based on the breach of privacy can cause lots of anxiety or tension within their personnel life, if not dealt or handled with extreme care.(Saeri et al., 2014)

Based on research done by the Computer security company name McAfee, the social networks are considered to be as one of the top two threats to personal privacy for 2010 (Horn 2010). Within the year 2001-2009, approximately 10 million American users were victims of identity theft, and cybercrime tends to increase with the time. (Smith et al., 2014)

Social networking leads to sharing of the data or content within the social platform or in other words, necessity of sharing the content within the social circle is felt by users to convey or establish a stronger bond but the security or privacy risk is not taken into account. (Smith et al., 2014)

Sharing content online or having a conference calls online without having face to face conferences, also leads to lack of trust within the users as it is not verifiable, if the other user, who is sharing the data or content, or the conversation is true or not.

 “The nature of the online environment, in terms of being ‘less verifiable [and] less controllable’, creates a greater need for trust online” (Gefen, 2002: 3), and that’s where the sharing of the information can be seen as a risky but a controlled one, that is, sharing a controlled information be a productive and builds trust within a closed group or community.

Due to absence of any face to face or physical interaction, leads to uncertainty regarding the credibility of the other users, which creates an unknown environment and unfamiliar process, generating fear and trust concerns among internet users (Gefen et al., 2003; Metzger, 2004).

Trust issues are also present in professional environment, when team members credibility is on the line, when there’s lack of physical presence and everything is done via online portals or social media platforms, especially in large scale projects and same goes for the internet merchants, where the consumer trust is at risk as well as trustworthiness of the internet as a distribution or consumption channel, and company size and reputation. (O’Brien & Torres, 2012)

Data sharing and its impact on user’s future

Sharing of the crucial information like GPS or geo location poses grave threat to user safety, as the user location or their movements can be tracked by the hacker or even worse, whenever the user post their location, hacker could go or break into their house or property and steal whatever they want, before the owner comes back.

There are privacy tools offered by Facebook to minimize such incidents but familiarity with such security tools is still lacking within the users, as well as lack of awareness regarding privacy vulnerability could lead to a huge impact on users’ safety and security as well as their personnel life. (Nyoni & Velempini, 2018)

Reflects on Professional life

The data present regarding any user on social networking sites (SNSs) acts as a LinkedIn profile for the Employer who are looking to hire a candidate for a job, by doing a background check on these social networks. These background checks involve reviewing social media accounts such as Facebook but without the user knowledge, that his data or personnel information on social platform is being searched on, which could leads to disappointment for the user, if the decision is being made based on content posted on social media or does not matches the suitability of the role required by employer based on user profile on Facebook. (McGuinness & Simon, 2018)

On the contrary, the employers who check the user’s profile without their consent, tends to fall into unethical practice, which is invasion of user privacy and the research done by the Clark and Roberts  (2010)  argue  that  SNSs  checks  may have detrimental effects on future SNSs usage, both from the perspective of its users and for the SNSs itself. (McGuinness & Simon, 2018)

Moreover, the data sharing could also lead to Surveillance and cyber bullying. In terms of surveillance the recent example in the news is the Surveillance of the American people done by the CIA with the help of US Government, without even their consent, thus the data which is already present in the social websites and if not posted carefully, could be used against them for the surveillance by various surveillance agencies.

Another issues is faced by the young children at school or students in the universities is the cyber bullying, in which users are bullied by their own peers based on pictures or videos they post, which cause the alarm for the parents these days, to act on it and restrict the usage of social media, used by their kids. (Nyoni & Velempini, 2018)

Deliberate sharing of the data  

There are some different aspects of the sharing content on SNSs, that is, some users deliberately shares data or information on social platforms, in order to gain publicity or fame, such as, these days, teenagers share their personal images on social media, in order to be famous among their peers or some celebrities deliberately shares their personal images or videos, in order to gain more popularity among social media, such as Kim Kardashian. (Zhu & Bao, 2018)

Furthermore, Deliberately sharing of the content over SNSs also tends to fall into impression management, due to fact that sharing of data or content, that is controlled or selected accordingly, to attract certain audience, have much more impact and effective, in terms of gaining more acceptance from other users or audience.(Zhu & Bao, 2018)

CRITICS –

On the contrary, the critics would say, the Controlled usage or sharing of data poses lesser risk, by sharing lesser risky information.

“Comparatively optimistic people think that they are less susceptible to risks than others, and that sense of invulnerability may lead them to engage in risky behaviors.” (Suh, 2016)

Comparatively optimistic people  are those, who tends to share valuable information within a closed or correct group or audience but that information is still stored in the social media or platforms servers, thus poses a risk of not knowing, that who can access such information (Acquisti, Brandimarte, & Lowenstein, 2015).

The privacy paradox is the phenomenon which is documented by several researcher based on Inconsistencies between Internet users and their lack of self -protection behavior or privacy concerns, which leads to the fact that web users’ privacy decision making may not be always perfectly rational. (Suh, 2016)

CONCLUSION –

Given the fact that, sharing content or data over the social media poses grave threats, if not monitored carefully but with the establishment of healthy boundaries within the social circle is the key to deal with issues like – Identity theft or data privacy. Having a control over, what to share or up to what extent, user can stay safe from miss use of the content.

Moreover, by sharing data which deemed necessary, instead of sharing for popularity, is the best way to tackle these issues. Such as, people use social media as a way through which they can capitalize and it depends upon, how they can share data or content, that is valuable to others, move over by having presence over social media platforms, people can stay connected with one another based on communities they join.

College or university level students can benefits most from having presence over social platforms like Facebook, as it can help form and maintain social capital and bonding with fellow peers, with the usage of social media also comes the psychological well-being for users who have low self-esteem and low life satisfaction, thus utilizing impression management, where controlled sharing of the data or content within a closed group or community plays a productive role.

Overall, the outcome of this paper or analysis, solely lies on the fact that, a privacy concerns and drive for building stronger community ties, goes side by side, but the most important factor is the necessity and within the recent years, more emphasis is put on, how to build or achieve stronger ties within the community or a group, in order to be acceptable and acquire fame, rather than concerns over privacy and that’s where passive SNSs usage comes in, along with controlled data and impression management, in order to tackle privacy concerns while still remain active on social platforms.

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3 replies on “Analysis of Sharing Content on Social Platform, it’s ethical concerns and how it can be used to build and strengthen ties within online communities and social networks.”

Hi Robin,

I’ve just finished your paper and I enjoyed reading it. I liked how you discussed both positive and negative social platforms. I agree with you that sharing content on social platforms helps build online communities as well as enhance relationships within weak/strong ties. I believe sharing content is another way of engaging and interacting with other users. And yes, with the advancement of technology and the emergence of Web 2.0 social networking sites can be used as an academic tool – which instructors can easily contact and interact with their students, vice versa. Also, I totally agree with you that even though SNSs enable us to share content within social platforms and help us enhance our relationship with others but there are privacy issues that users should worry about as social networks keep track of all interactions used on their sites and save them for later use. I also liked how you discussed the absence of face-to-face or physical interaction could lead to trust concerns among internet users. As in the world of social media, it can be difficult to navigate fact and fiction. Where contradiction often comes along while I’m using social media to improve social media presence – privacy issues always the one I am concerned about. However, I do think there are both good and bad aspects of staying connected to people on social media, users just have to be more cautious about the amount and content of what they’re going to post.

My paper focuses on the effect of Instagram on adolescent girls’ (age 13 to 18 years) social and emotional development (both positive and negative) – Here is a link to my paper if you’re interested: https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/10/the-ups-and-downs-of-instagram-on-adolescent-girls-social-and-emotional-development/

Hi Robin
Very interesting topic that you picked, as it was similar to the one i wrote about the data sharing of personal information to the third parties.
Yes technology has vastly improved of the way people are communicated,however the issue of users data protection and privacy is still a very much an issue that need to ironed out.
For instance majority users are not aware of how they data are shared once they download the (app), users can check few couples of things

1.Legitimacy of the app( avoid download app off Google play store or Apple app store.
2. Read through the kind of data that are going to be accessed by these platform, and acknowledge the reasons why they do it.
3.Looks at the app reviews from other users.
4. Government close engagement into policing data and privacy protection, and also promote and educate the public about data and privacy on social media platforms , and the public should ensure they aligned and updated with current rules and regulation of the data and privacy protection, and should report any malicious activities of the platforms that they engaged with.

Regards,
Sam

Thanks Samwel, that’s a good suggestions and input you gave put a whole lot of a new light on the topic. I agree, the data or information, these app put at their platform is equally important as well, in order to be more on safe side.

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