Social Media and Privacy

Monday, November 10, 2014

Alice Marwick

Fordham University

Social media sites are immensely popular, allowing us to connect with others, create and share content, and deepen friendships. At the same time, stories abound of people being arrested, fired, or disciplined for content posted to Facebook or Instagram, from photos of alcohol consumption to complaints about teachers and bosses. Often, the proposed solution is to simply avoid posting, assuming that by carefully editing one’s own content, slips or mistakes can be avoided. In this talk I examine the phenomenon of networked privacy. Both on and offline, other people spread information about us. On social media, where social networks are often public and visible, and content is algorithmically processed and linked to profiles and usernames, it is not enough to simply avoid posting: we must instead attempt to manage the information provision of friends and family. The difficulties this presents are illustrated through examples taken from a large-scale study of American teenagers, who are both enthusiastic users of social media and under strict scrutiny from parents and teachers. Facebook is used to show that our current legal and technical models of privacy are out of date in a networked world.

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