Social networks describe social structures comprising of a collection of social actors like individuals or institutions that are integrated by certain dyadic ties. These social structures provide online virtual spaces through which such individuals or institutions share information, post pictures, videos and audios as well as establish personal or official relationships (Ellison, 2007).
The social network has become a common medium of interaction in the contemporary society with individuals and businesses using it in one way or another in their regular activities. As such, the internet as well as the social media has transformed the way individuals live their lives as well as how industries conduct business. According to Boyd (2007), people have for a long time been able to use social networking sites to connect with friends, family and colleagues that they engage in doing a lot of different things including those that they cannot do in real life. On the other hand, businesses use the social network platforms to improve their brands, market products as well as compare their products with those of the rival companies. Non-profit making organizations as well as government agencies have gained popularity for using the social network platforms to dispense information pertaining to their programs and services (Gross, 2014). However, there are various security risks associated with social networks, which explains the appropriateness of inquiring into this topic.
The social network has proven to perpetuate certain privacy issues particularly because it propagates information that is visible to everyone. This has proven to promote complex problems especially in circumstances where user identities are violated thereby limiting their ability to maintain good image. According to Ellison (2007), the invention of the Web 2.0 has particularly promoted these complexities because it enhances the establishment of platforms that allow individuals to share a lot of their personal information. As a result, availability of such personal information has allowed hackers to access users’ social media accounts and post inappropriate information. Apart from hackers, users stand the risk of leaving their accounts logged in on a public computer especially in instances where they are not sensitive on un-checking certain buttons when logging into their online social media accounts (Boyd, 2007).
Justification of the study
Following the various complexities associated with social networks, there is need to promote privacy in order to ensure that user identity is protected at all costs. Certain gaps however prevail in the scholarly field, as there is no particular study that has investigated how such privacy can be promoted. Most studies that have been conducted in this field have only investigated how the use of social media has affected relationships. Other studies have inquired about how the use of social networking has affected learning and moral conduct among teenagers. Since face book and other social media are the leading networking platforms affected by privacy issues, there is no specific inquiry that has investigated how the issue can be addressed (Gross, 2014).
This research intends to investigate the strategies and tools that can be used to promote security in social networks.
- Are there security and privacy issues in social networks?
- Are privacy issues prevalent on Face book and other social media?
- How do these security and privacy issues affect user safety on media platforms?
- Can controlling app behavior, enforcing proper privacy setting and ascertaining the source of unknown apps promote privacy on face book and other social media?
- Can instituting legal frameworks such as use of private data protection policies promote privacy on face book and other social media?
This study will be carried out in the social network platforms in order to establish whether installing certain legal and mechanical interventions can promote privacy. 200 individuals with face book, tweeter, instagram accounts will be selected and engaged in the study. These participants will be instructed on how they can control their app behavior, enforce proper privacy settings and ascertain source of unknown apps as well as follow proper legal procedures to protect their data. They will then be required to report their findings pertaining to possible improvement in privacy to the researcher. Findings of this inquiry will then be analyzed in order to establish whether the recommended measures were appropriate in promoting privacy on Face Book and other social media.
Boyd, D. (2007). Social Networking Sites: Definition of History and Scholarship, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1):210-230.
Ellison, N. (2007). Benefits of Face book “friends”: Social Capital and College Students’ use of Online Social Network Sites, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 12(4):111-145.
Gross, E. (2014). Adolescent Internet Use: what we Expect, what Teens Report, Applied Developmental Psychology, 28(3):98-129.