Home > Free Essays > Entertainment & Media > Social Media Networks > Facebook as a Social Network and Its Privacy Policy
Cite this

Facebook as a Social Network and Its Privacy Policy Report (Assessment)


Introduction

The current paper pertains to a case study related to the social network of Facebook and its privacy policy. The case study explains that the privacy policy and privacy settings on Facebook are such that they considerably violate the privacy of the social network’s users by selling their data to third parties for a variety of purposes, most of which are related to commerce. This topic is important because millions of users utilize the social network in question every day, unknowingly exposing their personal information to third parties which could then use this information against them; thus, the rights to privacy of these users are violated. The paper considers in detail four problems:

  1. the ethical issues of Facebook, and the ethical dilemma the case presents;
  2. the relationship of the business model of Facebook to privacy;
  3. the weaknesses of Facebook’s privacy features and policies,
  4. the potential ability to change Facebook’s business model to one that does not violate privacy.

In theory, it is possible to apply the analysis provided in this paper to change the social network in a manner that would make it violate the privacy of its users to a considerably lower degree.

Question 4-13

The company of Facebook operates in a manner which invades the privacy of their users, who post data on Facebook without being aware of the fact that this data is purposefully collected and then sold to a variety of companies and organizations for targeted advertisement and other purposes.

The violation becomes even clearer when the fact that the users are prevented from effectively changing their privacy settings by using an increasingly complex system of such settings and privacy policy of the company, and that even if they change their settings, their data can still be obtained by third individuals if that person’s Facebook friends have shared some such data and their privacy settings are not as strict as those of the user in question.

The provided case presents an ethical dilemma about the situation in which Facebook has to either continue providing free service to its users, but sell their data to the advertisement and other companies to make profits, or to create a fairer and more transparent privacy policy, but lose a considerable part of their profits. However, the company is not going to charge their users for service, as the website states that using the social network is free and always will be (Facebook, n.d.), and it also seems that the company is not planning to lose its profits for the sake of creating a fair privacy policy.

Question 4-14

On the whole, it should be stressed that the business model of Facebook as it is used currently contradicts the privacy of its users (Afuah, 2014). The customers of Facebook include advertisement companies and other agencies who might be interested in gathering data about individuals to purposefully provide them with a tailored advertisement, make decisions about satisfying or denying their requests, and so on. On the whole, the users of Facebook are not its customers; they (and their data) are, in fact, the product which is being sold to the real clientele of the social network in question (Goodson, 2012).

Nevertheless, it might still be possible to better keep the privacy of the users of Facebook by providing them with the ability to adjust their privacy settings and not sharing the information that they wish to remain private with third parties desiring to purchase such information. It would also be possible to include settings that would forbid gathering information about a user from the accounts of their Facebook friends.

However, Facebook would lose a part of profits if they adjusted their policy in such a manner. Thus, in theory, the business model of Facebook can be used in a way that would not violate the privacy of the social network’s users, or at least violate it minimally; leaks of data would probably still be possible. But Facebook does not wish to operate in such a manner and lose a (considerable) part of their profits.

Question 4-15

The privacy policies and features of Facebook have several weaknesses, which, however, appear deliberate rather than unintentional. The case description states that the privacy policy of this social network is composed in a manner which makes it rather difficult to understand and that the privacy features of the website itself make it so that users cannot control which information about them is collected and sold to the third parties; even though the users can adjust their privacy settings, they cannot control, for example, the use of the information about them that is posted by their Facebook friends. This makes the privacy protections of Facebook users very weak.

This weakness has been contributed to by several various factors. The management factors affecting it are probably related to the currently existing in the company interpretation of its business model as such, as the business is aimed at gaining profits from advertising, and targeted advertisement brings more profit than general ads (Afuah, 2014). The organization factors contributing to this weakness are related to the purposeful creation of non-transparent policies so that the users would not be able to protect their data in an efficacious manner if they post it on Facebook. Finally, the technology factors are related to the existing impossibility to protect all the data about users in a social network even in a situation when an effective privacy policy and settings are used by the social network.

Question 4-16

On the whole, it is possible to assume that Facebook is capable of having a successful business model without invading the privacy of its users (Afuah, 2014). Even though the users are the product being sold, it is still possible to “sell” them in a more ethical manner – for example, to simply use non-targeted advertisements on the social network. The fact that Facebook has a vast number of users allows for concluding that the social network would still make considerable profits if they used the website as space for an advertisement that is targeted at users to a minimal degree (for example, according to the region in which the users live).

To make this possible, Facebook should take several measures. These measures include creating a transparent privacy policy, one which any reasonably literate user would be able to understand, and introducing settings which would allow the users to better control what information about them is collected and shared, and which information is not. These steps would be able to significantly increase the degree to which the privacy of the Facebook users is protected, and would still allow the business to gain profits from placing an advertisement on its website because the advertisement would still be viewed by millions of users of the network every day.

References

Afuah, A. (2014). Business model innovation: Concepts, analysis, and cases. New York, NY: Routledge.

Facebook. (n.d.). Facebook – log in or sign up. Web.

Goodson, S. (2012). . Web.

This assessment on Facebook as a Social Network and Its Privacy Policy was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Assessment sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

301 certified writers online

GET WRITING HELP
Cite This paper

Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2020, November 18). Facebook as a Social Network and Its Privacy Policy. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/facebook-as-a-social-network-and-its-privacy-policy/

Work Cited

"Facebook as a Social Network and Its Privacy Policy." IvyPanda, 18 Nov. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/facebook-as-a-social-network-and-its-privacy-policy/.

1. IvyPanda. "Facebook as a Social Network and Its Privacy Policy." November 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/facebook-as-a-social-network-and-its-privacy-policy/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Facebook as a Social Network and Its Privacy Policy." November 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/facebook-as-a-social-network-and-its-privacy-policy/.

References

IvyPanda. 2020. "Facebook as a Social Network and Its Privacy Policy." November 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/facebook-as-a-social-network-and-its-privacy-policy/.

References

IvyPanda. (2020) 'Facebook as a Social Network and Its Privacy Policy'. 18 November.

More related papers