Monday, 9 November 2015

Are You Revealing Too Much on Social Networks?

Credit: Chung J., You're Being Watched Online
Privacy in the social media era can be seen as an oxymoron. For decades, consumers, organisations, institutions, media and government regulators have struggled with the problem of online privacy in an increasing social domain. Chretien KC, (2009) concluded that 60% of medical institutes reported indications of unprofessional online postings by students. Yet, less than 50% of educational programmes had or were in the process of developing policies addressing online postings by students. The numbers speak for themselves. Pharmacy educators were struggling with the myriad of ethical and legal issues pertaining to social media communications and relationships with and amongst students (Cain J. 2010). For example, one legal matter is the act of "cut-and paste"/plagiarism from Web-based materials by students. One ethical matter is the ambiguous criteria for judging online personas since interpreting personal character and professionalism for information contained on social profiles is a complex task. While online personas may provide clues to one's true personality, they may not be wholly accurate.  

Credit: Chung J., You're Being Watched Online via
Credit: Chung J., You're Being Watched Online via
Likewise, as marketers we are customarily out there promoting and advertising our business, yet neglecting our online privacy.  Despite this, online privacy and anonymity should be paramount to us, especially as ecommerce continues to gain traction. Privacy intrusions and threat risks are typical considerations for any website under development. Moreover, online privacy is a cause for concern for any consumer making an online purchase, visiting a social networking site, participating in online games or attending forums. If a password is compromised or revealed, a victim’s digital identity may be duplicitously used or stolen.    

By contrast, there are severe consequences to making your information publicly accessible and available. Here are some penalties for poor privacy:

Credit: Mlot S, Infographic: Public & Private via pcmag
Undoubtedly, privacy is the prime issue over social media. According to Trend Micro, Mlot S. (2012) reported that more than 20 million U.S. Facebook consumers include their birthday in their digital profile which can be the key for hackers to infiltrate their network or personal data. From the above, it can be construed that consumers may either include excessive personal information on their profiles, or they do not know how to adequately safeguard those profiles effectively. Here is an extremely useful auditory article by Victor E., (2014) on how to better manage your social media privacy settings:

Credit: Victor E., How to Check Social 
Media Privacy Settings via SocialMediaExaminer

Lastly, as the saying goes, better safe than sorry. Here are some guidelines by Oliur, (2012) to ensure a strong privacy:
[410 Words, excluding citations & references]


Greenwald G. (2014) Why privacy matters. Ted Global

Cain J., Joseph L. (2010) Legal and Ethical Issues Regarding Social Media and Pharmacy Education. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Kleinman Z. (2015) Who's that girl? The curious case of Leah Palmer BBC Technology

Jayson S. (2014) Social media research raises privacy and ethics issues USA Today

Chretien KC, Greyson SR (2009) Online posting of unprofessional content by medical students NCBI

Chung J., (2014) You're Being Watched MakeUseOf

Oliur (2012) The Sad State of Social Media Privacy The Ultralinx

Victor E., (2014) How to Check Social Media Privacy Settings SocialMediaExaminer

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