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Facebook's Changing Privacy Policies Essay

1245 words - 5 pages

Facebook had originally advocated for privacy, claiming that they wanted as much information as possible private, in order for people to share more information (Kirkpatrick, 2009). However, in the past year or so, Facebook has changed its privacy policies, making information more public, and making it impossible to change some of that into more private information. However Mark Zuckerberg has made a U-turn regarding privacy, claiming that people now want to share more information and that society is changing and these new policies are a reflection of that change (Kirkpatrick, 2010). However given that Facebook has so many users, and it has such an impact on our society, they are more than mere bystanders, they are not reflecting a social change but rather imposing it (Kirkpatrick , 2009). This privacy change affects many since their information is now available to anyone who wants it as opposed to just a small circle of trusted friends, this leaves a window open for people like stalkers (Singel, 2009) who can find out all about a person, or to theft, since a lot of a person’s personal information can be accessed, personalized scams would be easier to pull off.
However, not everyone sees this change as something bad. With the rise of sites such as twitter, MySpace, new personal blogs coming every day, etc it is clear that people are more open to share information (Kirkpatrick, 2010). The new privacy settings are also simpler now, allowing the 85% users who had never changed their settings before (Kirkpatrick, 2009) to do so. It is clear that most people do not oppose to this changes since, over 10 million users have joined ever since Facebook’s official statement, and 50% have changed their privacy settings. If this pattern continues, it will be clear that people do not oppose to this change but rather embrace it.
Section B: It background
Facebook was created by three Harvard students Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, originally intended for college students but eventually became open for anyone to use (Strickland, date unknown).

Figure 1 Growth in Facebook users and its audience composition (Photobucket, Unknown)

In January 2008 the Social Network site, Facebook had over 60 million users, more than half of them outside college (Eldon, 2008). By December its amount of users had doubled, with people over 25 years of age being “the fastest growing demographic” (Eldon, 2008). Ever since, the number of people on Facebook has increased exponentially, having over 400 million users in 2010(Facebook statistics, date unknown) each spending and average of 500 billion minutes per month on the site. If Facebook were a country, right now it would be the third largest nation in the world (Kirkpatrick, 2009), with 70 translations of the site, and a clear global reach.
Facebook is a social network. “Social networking is the grouping of individuals into specific groups” (whatissocialnetworking, date unknown). In Facebook, any...

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