Social networking sites and personal privacy

18-7-networking-security

 

Ben Lee

Contributing writer

Recent changes to leading social networking websites such as Facebook and Instagram are raising concerns about users’ privacy.

Changes to Facebook and Instagram starting Jan. 19 now allow the selling of posted photos and other personal information to advertisers without users’ consent or compensation.

This means that pictures people share, pages they “like” or even other accounts they visit are fair game, according to the new privacy policy for Facebook.

The new policy explains that to deliver interesting or sponsored content, users must agree to allow a business or entity to display their usernames, likeness, photos and actions taken in connection with paid or sponsored advertisements without receiving compensation.

Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, their privacy policies are similar and the sharing of users’ data between the two sites now is allowed.

With new policy changes that allow these popular websites to use posted photos and personal information without consent or compensation, it has sparked concern from users. Some have even deleted their accounts.

Joshua Larangiera, an enjoyer of both social networking sites, is one of the outraged people who don’t like this new change.

“Whatever I post on my account should be mine regardless if I’m using their site. I don’t want to share pictures of myself, family or friends and then see them on some billboard, especially if I’m not going to get anything out of it,” Larangiera says.

And while many users are expressing concern with the changes, others plan to continue using their favorite social networking sites.

Christopher Warner, another user of both social networking sites, is a bit leery but has no problems with the new changes.

“I don’t think it would be cool if they used my stuff without asking or letting me know, but I’m a big ‘What I don’t know won’t hurt me’ kind of guy so if they are using my information and pictures, it’s fine with me,” Warner says.

Officials at Facebook and Instagram have desperately been trying to remedy the backlash by re-wording their privacy policy to further clarify what they are trying to do with user information.

Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO and co-founder, said in an official blog post for Instagram that company’s new policy improves on some previous confusing language.

“To be clear: it’s not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear,” Systrom said.

But no real clarifications have been announced, only the promise. No one really knows what the policy changes really do for users of Facebook and Instagram.

Dionisio Wilkins, who is a fan of Facebook, has been following these policy changes since they were first announced. He believes he is versed in the options and mechanics of Facebook because he is a knowledgeable person who gained understanding through years of using the site but still finds himself part of the majority who don’t know what Facebook means to do with private information.

“I’ve read the privacy policy very thoroughly, but some of the wording still come off a very complicated way of saying whatever you post is no longer private information. I don’t think that re-wording the privacy policy is going to change the fact that your information is no longer just your information, it’s free for Facebook to do whatever they like with it,” Wilkins says.

And he also understands where the companies are coming from because they have the best source of information, which are people, to find out what kind of products people are most interested in.

Why wouldn’t someone take advantage of that? Wilkins says information could make these companies quite a bit of money.

But with the new privacy policies taking effect and the backlash from current account holders, where do people go from here?

A casual fan of Facebook, Tony Thompson weighs in on the future of both social networking sites.

“I might as well just stop using it if they are just going to take my private information and pictures to do with as they please. It’s just not worth it to me. I only use it to keep in touch with friends and family that are far away so if they don’t change their policy, looks like Skype it going to be my go to thing to keep in touch,” Thompson says.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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Social networking sites and personal privacy

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