March 9, 2011

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

Filed under: Facebook — publicandprivatespace @ 1:32 pm

By: Jenna Coffey

Facebook has become a profound feature of many individuals lives, actually encompassing over 600 million users.  With Facebook’s weighty influence on today’s culture many people are utilizing the social networking website’s features to release private information generally not expulsed to the public.  Facebook has made this information release an effortless tactic, through such features as statuses, pictures, notes, and even contact information sections.  With such easy release, Facebook has become a feeding ground for information, both for good and evil, a sort of public resource accessed by many outsiders.  Facebook has, thus, become connected to ideas such as with educational investigation and business ventures.

            Due to its new uses, Facebook has become linked to old ideas, it has now overtaken such websites as Yahoo and Google in the arena of background checks.  This allows people from potential employers to criminal investigators to use user’s individual, private information for their public benefit.  Many career centers view Facebook background checks as the next step up from “googling” a candidate.  This is a clear drawback for the avid Facebook user who enjoys posting comments that could be considered racy or extreme, seemingly limiting their ability to speak freely.  This even puts some individuals at greater risk who view Facebook as a private entity that can not be accessed by such professionals.  Facebook can thus affect our ability to get a job, hold a job, be admitted into an educational institution, retain a scholarship or athletic status at an institution, and so much more.

            One of the major uses Facebook has become linked to is certain business ventures.  Facebook has allowed many potential employers get to know their candidates before the interview process and outside of the applicant’s resume.  Through this new access, employers have found many disturbing facts causing them to remove these candidates from consideration, such threatening ideas include blowing things up, smoking blunts, and shooting people.  This ease of access has allowed corporations to discover the applicants deemed “immature and unprofessional” before they must waste their time in the interview process.

            Along with the workplace, educational institutions have also begun using Facebook as a sort of watchdog.  School and universities have especially put this surveillance into place upon their scholarship students and athletes.  Student’s posts have caused them a wide range of disciplinary actions, ranging from losing positions in a club to expulsion from the University and being denied their professional degree to getting investigated by the Secret Service.   Due to all of these consequences suffered by students many institutions have placed mandates on their students, requiring athletes to maintain a sterile profile or even disallowing their use of Facebook altogether.  These precautions have proven to be successful in limiting the release of private information.

            Facebook has put many people at risk due to their disregard to private information.  Facebook has ultimately lowered people’s privacy concerns and increased the amount of trust we put in technology.  The information an individual releases on their Facebook profile can greatly affect their existence not only online but also outside of their online community.  Many individuals have already suffered the consequences from releasing too much information online or posting inappropriate data that can never actually be erased from the internet.  Much of this discounted information release is due to individual’s unawareness of Facebook’s allotted privacy settings.  To help Facebook users become further acquainted with the privacy settings, we all need to read an article entitled “10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know.”  This article not only informs the reader about potentially unknown privacy settings but also allows the reader to understand how to tighten these security settings through Facebook and thus secure their use of the website.

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