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Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Facebook in Modern Society Report

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Updated: Jul 26th, 2021

Introduction

Facebook is one of the most important current forms of Information Technology. Facebook is a social network that was invented in 2004 by a Harvard student called Mark Zuckerberg. The membership expanded to other colleges such as Boston, Ivy League, Stanford University, and many others before extending to the rest of people across the world.

Before using the site, it is mandatory for the users to register by creating their personal profiles and adding other users as friends. Through the network, members are able to exchange messages and update themselves on the current issues that occur around the world. Furthermore, this site enables the users to form groups of similar interests.

According to Mary et al. (2010), it is estimated that by July 2011, approximately 800 million people had been using Facebook. This technology has also raised many concerns ranging from social, cultural, ethical, and legal issues pertaining to its use. Therefore, it is important to analyze how Facebook has affected the lives of people in terms of social, cultural, ethical issues being neglected and the legal implications that this kind of media has brought.

Factors motivating use of Facebook

According to Ashwini (2011), Facebook as a social network site has gained enormous amount of popularity as people use the avenue to link and connect with one another (243).

He argues that the use of Facebook is motivated by two factors namely the need to belong to a certain group and the need of self-presentation. The need to belong is motivated by cultural and demographic factors such as people, especially the youth who want to be recognized and belong somewhere. On the other hand, the need for self-presentation is contributed by factors such as shyness, self-esteem and self worth.

Social impacts

Invention of Facebook has impact on the social lives and activities of many people around the globe. The availability and accessibility of Facebook on the mobile phones have aggravated the effect as almost every person can access the internet and be able to chat and interact with his/her friends on the site.

This has allowed people to continuously keep in touch with their acquaintances and relatives in different locations, bridging the social gap of interaction. For instance, many people send messages and share their stories and new events on Facebook, hence, promoting close interactions.

The site has also acted as a unifying factor for people with common interests/or beliefs. This has been achieved through the possibility of making or forming up groups on Facebook and networking among the group. Furthermore, the site has also assisted to a greater extent in re-uniting family members, friends and relatives.

A good example of how Facebook has helped in re-uniting people was the case of Watson John with his daughter who was lost for 20 years (Gardner, 2010, p. 4). Upon updating his profile, John Watson was able to link with his daughter making the two reconnect. This, therefore, shows how Facebook has helped to promote unity and friendship among people across the globe.

Criticism use of Facebook

Even though Facebook has positive impacts, it has also been accused of being the center of problems that continue to befall to people, as it is the center of relationships’ breakup and other antisocial behaviors. Facebook as a tool of connection has resulted in antisocial behaviors as people are not able to communicate directly with each other.

This makes people stay on their computers most of the time making them unable to engage in direct conversation. This contributes to antisocial behaviors (Stahl, 2011, p. 254). Furthermore, Facebook has also contributed to break up of many relationships especially through falsehoods and rumors, hence, increasing the rate of infidelities and divorce among families.

Crime has also been perpetrated through Facebook as people dupe others on different issues such as employment opportunities and asking money for the same. Those people who have not been cautious have lost huge sums of money for jobs and business deals that do not exist.

Facebook as a tool of hiring

According to Mary et al. 2010), Facebook is the fastest growing international social network and many employees are using this network to hire their employees (14).

For instance, approximate 22% of employees look or check the Facebook profiles of their prospective employees to see whether they drink too much, use drugs, trash former employees, or tell the trade secrets on their profiles (Mary et al., 2010). This, therefore, raises the question of ethics. It is actually ethical for employees to check the profiles of the prospective candidates for them to determine if they can bank or trust them in their own companies.

According to Mary et al. (2010), employees should not use Facebook during their hiring process because this is invasion of privacy; current laws do not allow this, and the information posted on the personal profiles of potential candidates may not be accurate (13). Furthermore, using Facebook for hiring may discriminate, lead to wrongful firing cases of good employees, and in the long-run lead to financial loses and damage of the company reputation.

For instance, the privacy act of 1988 stipulates the manner and the way personal information is collected. The principle states that no personal information should be collected by a collector for the purpose of including it in a record or in any generally available publication except for circumstances where such information serves lawful purposes that relates to the activity or function of the collector.

Therefore, in this sense, information available on Facebook is not directly or necessary related to the purpose of recruiting an employee (Mary, Charlie, and Jitendra, and Bharat, 2010, p.15). In this case an employee has the reservation to argue that such information his/her personal activity and profile hence does not relate or is outside the work environment.

Another law requires that when information of an individual is collected on Facebook, the individual ought to be aware of the purpose that information is being collected for (Mary, Charlie, Jitendra, and Bharat, 2010, p. 14).

Therefore, intruding somebody’s information and using the same for your own purposes surmount to violations of law which is taken as breach of the law. Therefore, employers who retrieved information through Facebook for hiring process ought to seek permission from the owner of the information otherwise they would be contravening the laws on privacy.

Ethical issues on Facebook

Another ethical issues arising from the use of Facebook is the impersonation of other people in order to gain access to other members or group profile information.

For instance, the information on Facebook is not supposed to be used for commercial purposes; but in order to access such information many people or even employees conceal their identity and pretend to be members of such groups just to gain an opportunity to view the information of other people (Gil-Or, 2010, p. 20).

Information technology has created this ethical issue. Furthermore, the age limit for a person to access and register on Facebook is 13 years. Currently many parents who are supposed to ensure that their children under the age are not able to register on the Facebook flout this requirement.

Instead, many children gain accessibility and open their accounts without abiding by the legal requirements. It becomes an ethical issue when the guardians or parents who are supposed to control and guide their children assist them to open accounts on the internet. Such actions contravene the law and it is unethical practice.

Cultural impacts

Facebook has also cut across the cultural forms of communication. It is easy to operate and open; many people have joined it and made friends across the globe. The invention of Facebook in 2004 marked a big turning point in the world of information technology and multimedia.

The old forms of communication were broken; the age factor is outdated. Both old and the young people over 13 years are able to interact and share the information with each other. For instance, at the age of 102, Bean Ivy from Bradford joined Facebook in 2008 making her the oldest person on Facebook. This actually was a peculiar thing, which showed that Facebook is a modern form of communication which is able to accommodate every person.

Effects of use of Facebook

Facebook has also violated work ethics. Most employees spend a lot of their time chatting and sending messages to their friends instead of doing their work. This has caused many of them failing to meet their targets and execute their duties as required. This is an unethical issue which has seen many employers ban employees from accessing/using it during their working hours.

This technology has also heightened the level at which youth especially students influence their fellow students. Most of the students in college have fallen culprits and turned into alcoholism as a result of peer group influence through Facebook (Ridout, Campbell, and Ellis, 2012, p.20).

Furthermore, many countries across the world, such as China, Pakistan, and Syria have banned or restricted the use of or access to Facebook because of its impacts on people’s social life (Elefant, 2011, p. 42). Facebook also has a risk of transmitting information and content that may trigger conflicts. Some of the countries banned it because it allowed contents perceived to be anti-Islamic, that contained information discriminating against other religions.

Political impacts

In the recent past and even current, Facebook as one form of social media has gained much approval and use in the political sphere (Wicke, 2011, p. 1132). Many politicians and even civil groups use Facebook in spreading their ideologies and policies to their followers. For instance, during 2008 presidential elections in the USA, president Obama used Facebook as one of his avenues to communicate and sale his policies to the audience. It actually assisted him to some level in taking over the leadership of USA as the president.

Not withstanding, the revolutions that marred most of the North African countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt were made by Facebook. Activists in Egypt used Facebook to update their supporters to continue with their demonstration at the Tahrir square in Cairo, which saw them emerge the victor when the president Hussein Mubarak was ousted from the government (Richard, Emily, Anna, and Jessica, 2009, p. 102).

Facebook as a social media is prone to be abused because of the freedom it gives the person using it. This brings about the question of ethics.

For instance, a person may decide to conceal his/her identity and use vulgar languages, post pornographic material and even insult other people in network or in a group and go court free (Amanda, Emmanuel, Tara, and Alice, 2010, p. 406). The language and the tone of the users of Facebook should be moderate and acceptable.

The network is not able to hold such people liable owing to the larger coverage of the users. Therefore, this is an issue that needs to be looked at in order to ensure that this social media is not used to destroy and spread abusive speech across the globe. Abusive events and comments are not supposed to be tagged on somebody’s profile as they contravene ethics (Andrew, Nicole, Cliff Lampe, and Yvette, 2011, p. 2322)

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no doubt that indeed Facebook as a social media has gone far in creating networks that have turned out to be effective and of greater help to people across the globe. The media has helped people keep in touch and reduce the costs of travelling. It has also provided a spectrum where people have been able to connect with new friends and able to socialize with people from different cultural background hence promoting diversity.

Furthermore, the internet has seen many people get jobs or loved ones reconnect after a very long period of staying apart. Notwithstanding, this social media has a number of flaws, which need to be looked into in order to make it even more better and useful channel of connecting people across the world.

Some of the challenges it faces is consuming a lot of people time thus making them less productive in their work and hindering people to interact directly. The media can also be used in a wrong manner whereby groups of people can use it to create rifts among people among other issues. Facebook as a current form of Information Technology and multimedia has proved its value and might be regarded as one of the greatest achievements in the 21st century.

List of References

Amanda, N., Emmanuel, Y., Tara, G., and Alice, C., 2010. All about me: Disclosure in online social networking profiles: The case of Facebook. Computers inhuman Behavior, 26(3), pp. 406-418

Andrew, D., Nicole B., Cliff Lampe, D., and Yvette W., 2011. Facebook as a toolkit: A uses and gratification approach to /unbundling future use, Computers in human behaviour, 27(6), pp 2322-2329

Ashwini Nadkarni, Stefan G. Hoffmann, 2011. Why do people use Facebook?, personality and individual differences, 52(3), pp. 243-249.

Elefant, C., 2011. The “power” of social media: legal issues & best practices for utilities engaging social media. Energy Law Journal, 32(1), pp. 1-56

Gardner, D, 2010. “The marriage killer: One in five American divorces now involves Facebook”. Mail Online (London).

Gil-Or, Or., 2010. The Potential of Facebook in Creating Commercial Value for Service Companies. Advances in Management, 3(2), pp. 20-25

Mary, O., Charlie, P., Jitendra, M., and Bharat, M., 2010. Employers Use Facebook Too, for Hiring. Advances in Management, (3), 1, pp. 13-17

Richard, D. W., Emily B., Anna, L., and Jessica, L., 2009. Engaging stakeholders through social networking: How non profit organizations are using Facebook, public relations review, Volume, 35 (2), pp. 102-106.

Ridout, B., Campbell, A., and Ellis, L., 2012. ‘Off your Face(book)’: Alcohol in online social identity construction and its relation to problem drinking in university students. Drug & Alcohol Review, 31(1), pp. 20-26

Stahl, B., 2011. Teaching Ethical Reflexivity in Information Systems: How to Equip Students to Deal With Moral and Ethical Issues of Emerging Information and Communication Technologies. Journal of Information Systems Education, 22(3), pp. 253-260

Wicke, J., 2011. Epilogue: Celebrity’s Facebook.. PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, 126(4), pp. 1131-1139

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