The Beacon

The difficulty of being private when using Social Media

Sarah Matarella, Staff Writer

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Social media is often viewed as a gateway into the realm of no privacy. However, while social media networks act as outlets to share information about our lives, they can also be used strategically to create a false image.

Social media networks like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook have a story feature where you can post instantaneously.

This can essentially allow people to know where you are and what you are doing at that exact moment. In addition, almost all social media platforms provide a location feature as well to be even more precise about a user’s activities.

Many argue that because of this advanced interaction technology, if you post on social media frequently then you have little to no privacy.

This would further insinuate that people who do not utilize social media have more privacy. However, that is not always the case when it comes to modern social media use.

Privacy can be broken down into two separate categories: personal privacy, and privacy with regard to data mining and exposure to advertisements.

When it comes to personal privacy, posting more on social media does in fact give others more of an insight into someone’s life. However, the user still possesses a lot of control with regard to how much and what type of insight.

If you take a look at the profiles of Instagram models or people who have jobs in social media, their profiles often look pristine, appealing, and even themed in some cases. Essentially, the user portrays themself as their ideal self or the way in which they want others to perceive them. When the number of followers or clicks on a particular user’s profile increase, the user will naturally want to maintain their current method of posting.

Consequently, avid social media users who do not rely on social media for revenue usually still want their number of followers to be higher as well and thus, assume similar posting methods. Posting in this theme-like, attractive manner often allows one’s followers to assume that a certain user’s life is perfect.

Users will often try to maintain this sense of perfection and thus, hide more intimate details about their life that may include deeper feelings or beliefs. This in turn allows for more personal privacy because even though a user posts a lot, it creates a specific image that usually deviates from someone’s actual character.

Furthermore, the more users post on social media, the more they are exposed to data mining and advertising. This is a form of privacy that no matter what someone does, they cannot escape. Networks such as Facebook especially have algorithms that log your searches and interests and display advertisements that relate to them so that you will click on them.

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The difficulty of being private when using Social Media