March 9, 2011

Female and Male College students use Facebook Differently?

Filed under: Facebook — publicandprivatespace @ 1:39 pm

By: Chamilka Gunasekera


Almost every college student in the world has or has heard of the social networking site called Facebook. Facebook is the second most visited site on the internet, second to Google, and is continuously growing every day. Today Facebook is available all over the world and has more than 500 million active users. Facebook not only targets teenagers but people of all ages use the site for various different purposes. It is available in seventeen different languages and is one of the most visited sites on the internet. However there are many aspects of Facebook that have not been thoroughly researched including the gender differences on the site. There are many differences amongst teenage girls and teenage boys seen in the real world, so do these characteristics transfer onto their Facebook pages?

After researching on the topic of the use of Facebook amongst college students, males and females, it is obvious that both genders use the social networking site differently. Firstly research shows that females in general use the site more often than males. Statistics show that 55% of Facebook users are female whereas the other 45% are male. The number of female outweighs the number of males in every single age group. When looking at specific users from ages 45-54 the number of female users is close to double the amount of male users (519,180 females to 316,700). Although this gap is much smaller in the age group of 18-25 (9,113,120 to 7,649,520) there is still a significant difference. Just these statistics alone show that Facebook is used more commonly among females.

Research also shows that females spend more time on Facebook t.han males do each day. For part of my research I conducted a survey on the University Campus. I asked 10 males and 10 females various questions about Facebook and how they spend their time on the site. After interviewing the twenty college students, results shows that on average females spend more time a day on Facebook than males.  On an average everyone interviewed stated that they checked their Facebook more than once a day. Females however stated that they used Facebook almost two hours every day (with the average being one and a half hours) where as in males the average was an hour. Statistics show that in every age group, female users check their Facebook much more frequently than male users. However how exactly was this time spent?

When viewing college males and females on Facebook it is evident that females edit their profiles more. The results of the surveys taken showed that when asked the question “Do you spend a lot of time changing your profile?” Eighty percent of females answered yes. When asked what they do to change their profile the majority answered that they changed their profile picture. When the same question was asked of the males, ten out of the ten responded no, meaning that they did not spend time changing their profile. In addition to the surveys I also spent some time viewing ten college students Facebook profile pages, five male and five female. When viewing the sites it was clear that Females had many more albums and uploaded pictures than most males, showing that they spend more time updating their profile. Statistics show that females also write on their profiles more than males. In the information page containing general information such as favorite movies, favorite books, activities etc. more females divulged more information than men. Another interesting difference amongst the two genders was the use of time on Facebook. Many males stated that most of their time on Facebook was dedicated to chatting with others and looking at others profiles. Females agreed that they did spend much time looking at others profile and chatting but an equal amount of time was also dedicated to using different applications. Finally the overall question was asked “What is the most important reason for using Facebook?”  Sixty percent of males answered that they used Facebook mainly to “creep” and “stalk” others. The majority of females however answered that they used Facebook to stay connected and for communication.

Along with clear differences on the use of Facebook features, there are also many differences in privacy concerns amongst the two genders. When searching through the site I found that more females had their profiles set to a private setting than males did. Many males’ sites were accessible whereas in order to access many females’ profiles a friend request approval was needed. The video titled “Only Hot Girls Care about Facebook Privacy” is a parody on the idea that nobody really cares about Facebook privacy except females. The video shows females fighting for privacy rights while males just brush the issue off. This parallels the idea in society that females tend to care about Facebook privacy more than males. Also when surveying college females, ninety percent stated that they cared about who was viewing their profiles, whereas only 40% of males said that privacy was a major issue for them.

It is obvious that there are many differences when comparing the use of Facebook amongst college females and males. Dissimilarities between the two genders are seen in everyday life including habits, views, etc so it is only normal to see these differences on Facebook. These distinctions are seen when viewing how much each gender uses Facebook, the different features and applications used by each gender, and the privacy concerns amongst both groups. With this information more knowledge is known about the variations between college females and males and the distinctions among the two on Facebook are now more prominent.




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.

Say Cheese! You’re on Facebook!

Filed under: Facebook — publicandprivatespace @ 11:48 am

By Haley Cator

As Facebook’s popularity increases, we need to be careful as to what information we make public because businesses, schools, and our families are responding to it.  We also need to realize that others can see our information and know that it may be used to help or harm us.  A comment on a thread of the Huffington Post states, “If you publicly post embarrassing things about yourself, don’t be surprised when they come back to haunt you.”

John Hechinger writes that no company wants to hire a person who is willing to publicize the fact that they’re drunk every night because that may diminish the “core values of the corporation.”  On the other hand, he also reports that one woman would rather not see that side of the applicant, but does that result in a fault of the company?  If someone is posting pictures of their self holding a gun and the company chooses to ignore that, then that could turn into a huge problem of which could have been avoided.

Also, Alan Finder writes that no school wants to admit a student who laughs at their arrest.  When it comes to scholarships, one counselor said that, “No one wants to be on the front page of the newspaper for giving a scholarship to a murderer.”  Because insight like this is now public to the whole world, schools are being very cautious about admissions to protect themselves.  Not every school uses Facebook as an admissions tool, but the ones that do are weeding out the people who do not uphold the characteristics of which the school wants to display. In fact, a Kaplan survey recorded that of the schools that use Facebook, 38% of them said that it “negatively affected” their attitude towards the applicant.  This staggering statistic should open the eyes of young people who use Facebook in order to urge them to revise their public page.

            Along with businesses and schools, parents and other family members are now using Facebook.  Actually, more than half of all users are now over the age of 25 and out of college, which is the parental range.  One journalist interviewed several people whose parents are on Facebook, and their responses were surprising.  Most of them don’t mind their parents being on Facebook, but they also don’t allow them to see their entire page.  “Students say a little fiddling with the privacy controls, and those pictures from Saturday [night never] existed.”

Because Facebook used to be strictly for college students and is now open to the general public, it went from being a private space to a public chat room. “It’s like having [my parents] walk into my room,” one girl says.  This has created some potential problems between the parents and the kids, but some of them are now, “used to it.”  For those who are still upset, one man suggests that there are rules set in place- not for the students’ behavior, but for the parents’ once they’re online.

            Conclusively, we all need to be careful about what information we’re making public on Facebook because it could affect the way businesses, schools, and our families view our behavior and result in negative outcomes.

March 7, 2011

Facebook: The Light Side Vs. The Dark Side

Filed under: Facebook — publicandprivatespace @ 12:18 am

By Matt Evans
Facebook: The Light Side Vs. The Dark Side
Before you go removing me from your News Feed, or worse, un-friending me, I really think I should start off by saying that I have absolutely nothing against Facebook. I actually have a Facebook and get on it multiple times a day. I enjoy Facebook quite a lot, maybe even to point of being an addict. It’s perfectly fine to have a Facebook and there’s nothing wrong with that. And 500,000,000 Facebook users would probably agree, as the website recently passed the half a billion served mark.
Every day these millions of “Facebookers” log into the social network. They use it for everything: staying in touch with family and friends, stalking the profiles of random acquaintances, watching videos, looking at photos, networking for business, advertising, or even for amusement and distraction like “poking” people, “liking” statuses or playing Farmville.
There are so many good uses for and great applications and tools on Facebook, surely one has to wonder, “Has too much of a good thing become a bad thing?”
One big problem that could cause some inherently bad repercussions pertains to the issue of the unintended audience, especially in the business place, or in the hiring process. More and more employers are using Facebook to do background checks on potential employees. Assistant news editor of The Observer, Eileen Duffy, wrote an article where she talked about a recent survey at that said one in ten employers have used social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace to research applicants. If someone had posted something inappropriate or rude, there’s a pretty good chance that the employer would know about it. No one can ever know who is reading his or her Facebook at any given time. There’s always the chance that someone is out there reading it who might not approve.
I’ve even seen this kind of thing happen in real life. A bunch of my friends and I used to head out to Waffle House every Sunday night. We became friends with one of the waitresses there. The last time we went to Waffle House we were talking with her and she informed us that this would be her last night there. Apparently, she had posted that she had a rough night at work and some negative thoughts about her co-workers. Her employers noticed it and they did not like it. They gave her the option of quitting or being transferred to another location. This is just one example of the sad, but true effects the unintended audience can have.
This next negative side effect Facebook could have is actually a big reason why a lot of people avoid Facebook altogether, and quite possibly the most common reason. With Facebook spreading its reach over multiple platforms, and its reach growing bigger and bigger each day with the fan pages, games, pictures, videos and so on, it is becoming increasingly more time consuming. Recently, in Forbes magazine, Kashmir Hill wrote a short article where she posted a 2010 survey for people that don’t use Facebook asking them why they choose not to. More than any other reason chosen was the reason that they simply thought it was a waste of time.
ComputerWorld reporter, Sharon Gaudin, posted an article in July of 2009 about this same topic. Facebook has become such a big deal that it’s even starting to reach into the business world. In the article, she talks about a survey done which showed that 77% of the test group used Facebook while in the workplace. In her article, she states “Companies that allow users to access Facebook in the workplace lose an average of 1.5% in total employee productivity.” Should employers really have to pay for “poking” and buying Farmville cash?
Along with a decrease in productivity in the workplace, a study at Ohio State University shows that there have also been signs that people in college who use Facebook have been getting lower grades than people who choose not to. This would kind of make one wonder if Facebook actually causes lower grades. I would certainly disagree. Like it’s commonly said, correlation doesn’t necessarily always mean causation. Of course other factors could also be contributing to the lower grades, but there definitely was a pretty significant relationship that could be seen between the two.
Obviously, Facebook has many positive aspects. What we have to realize is that there are also many potential negatives it can have as well, if we don’t use it correctly. The negatives are important to realize and keep in mind. I’m not saying go cold turkey and stop using Facebook altogether. I’m saying use Facebook in moderation and think before posting. It’s kind of like the Force. We all have to be mindful of it and use it wisely. It has a light side, as well as a dark side.

March 4, 2011

Facebook: Do you know who’s watching?

Filed under: Facebook — publicandprivatespace @ 10:19 am

By: Andrew Henderson

Over the past seven years Facebook has enabled crime and malicious activity through their lack of privacy settings. Incidents involving information sharing, stalking, and hackings have become common occurrences as a result of this absence of privacy. Many individuals, including myself, have begun to believe that Facebook is becoming a personal billboard for people to advertise even the most private aspects of their life.

            Take the recent arrest of George Bronk, a serial hacker who was recently convicted of hacking over 170 accounts. He used personal interests, addresses, telephone numbers, and email address to gain access to these women’s profiles. As a social network site, Facebook should not allow users to view information that will enable the hacking of a private account. Facebook needs to increase the protection of their users. As of now, when a person creates an account, their privacy settings are automatically set to the lowest possible setting. Anyone and everyone can access other users’ address, birthday, phone number, interests, email address and pictures. However, even if stricter privacy settings applied on an account doesn’t mean others have those same privacy settings on theirs. One person’s conversation, slanderous comment or embarrassing photo, regardless of their own privacy settings, can be viewed by their employer, parent or spouse if they follow a thread through a friends Facebook page.

            Information sharing amongst third party companies is another problem that users face when using Facebook. In 2007 the source code that powers the user interface for Facebook was inadvertently exposed through a blog known as Facebook Secrets. This code allowed everyone who used it to access the profiles of millions of users. Although no information and no accounts were affected due to this error, this only goes to show the lack of security Facebook places on its users’ accounts. Placing so much personal information in one location allows a greater risk for identity theft. Especially since social networking services are becoming an even more enticing target for computer hackers.

            A similar incident occurred in 2010 when a company known as Skull Security compiled and released personal data on more than 100 million Facebook users. The file was available for download by anyone who chose to access it. Again, incidents like this have increased the concern over user privacy. Ginger McCall, staff counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center stated, “there are a lot of people unaware of the amount of information Facebook is sharing, most people are under the impression that when set the privacy setting they won’t change.” However Facebook has twice changed the privacy settings in which user’s accounts were returned to default security settings without their consent.

            As a result of the privacy settings issue, there has been an increased demand for Facebook to change their privacy policy and increase user confidentiality. This demand has been met with no results from Facebook. Though CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his co-workers continue to make statements that they are improving privacy, nothing has been done. In 2008 they received heavy criticism and even a $9.5 million lawsuit for their use of the Bacon marketing tool. This program would take user information and send it to companies like Blockbuster,, and Fandango. In return, these companies would send information including what they bought or reviewed back to Facebook. This program was said to be discontinued after the lawsuit was settled. However, Facebook simply just changed the name to Facebook Connect, and gave users the ability to control the information that was shared. This change was never revealed by Zuckerberg and millions of users profiles continue reveal information to third party companies. Just last week I logged onto and as soon as the webpage loaded it showed my name, profile picture, email, number of friends, and where I was from; the site was asking me to create an account but already had the majority of my information.

            This past fall Facebook was again faced with the similar problem of programs sending personal information to web tracking companies. This came just two years after Zuckerberg publically stated they were altering their privacy policy in order to hinder these actions. Ten of the most popular applications on Facebook, including games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, were transmitting user IDs to third parties. Zuckerberg responded with yet another apology, but this time added that “the site’s privacy settings had become too complicated for the average user to understand.” It’s almost as if he has given up on solving the issues his users have. However, the majority of users still believe that there should be an increase privacy control. Zuckerberg even admitted that he believes users should become more public. He has used Facebook to promote his world vision that privacy is dead and has even stated, “the age of privacy is over.” Despite the demand for privacy reform, Facebook has continued to allow companies to steal user information and share it with outside companies, all while reading apology after apology stating they are fixing their problems.