The Intrusion Of Social Networking


Social Networking website Facebook offers international communication for all its users, seemingly for free; but as we all know- nothing comes free in this world. Facebook users on mobile devices such as phone are now unable to access the messaging service unless they install the new splintered app. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg intends to monetise the app, apparently at the cost of the user. This move goes against everything social networking stands for – but it is not the most concerning aspect of the newly formatted service.

The app promises that it is faster than the built in messenger system and Facebook boast that they have seen 20% of messengers are responding quicker. This is an interesting claim from the multi-billion dollar company considering that Facebook uses an instant message system. How can a message be received any quicker than instantly? The only way instant messages can be responded to any quicker is if the notification system is improved to deliver notice of the message received and that would not require a new, separate app from Facebook – which is what the new messenger system is.

Most concerning, the app offers free phone calls through wi-fi – which for many data-conscious Facebookers is a false economy as what they save on minutes will be consumed quickly by limited data allowances. This implementation also seems to enforce Facebook’s relationship with the individuals mobile phone by integrating the messaging system with users call lists and phonebooks in the app. It seems the company are now determined to bridge the communication gap between app and phone in an aggressive manner.

Of course the app also offers camera interaction with the same ability to take and send pictures straight from inside the app as the old messenger service offered. This is not new nor a surprise, but questions may be asked as to which of our photos the app has access to at any given time.

Max Schrems from Austria is currently leading over 25,000 people to sue the internet giants for €500 each for breach of privacy. Facebook which uses the information users give, sell said information to marketing companies to arrange suitable adverts for that individual. The lawsuit intends to prevent traffic to other sites through the “like” button being monitored and recorded by Facebook as well as several other amendments to its use of private data sharing. Most notably however, who’s participants are citizens of EU countries, the suit intends to put a stop to Facebook’s co-operation with the NSA’s PRISM surveillance system.

A father is currently suing Facebook over his young daughter’s usage of the social network and as a result Facebook must now disclose all available records on underage users. Mr Justice Gillen decreed that the information should be accessible to the case in Northern Ireland if available. The case revolves around the young girl using Facebook to contact adult males and posted photos of a sexual nature; it is reported that the girl received texts and adult content from males who had visited her several profiles. The request for Facebook to hand over the private information of these minors is not a first. Facebook has long been criticised for its poor attention to underage users and has an age restriction of 13 on the site; but this is not a strong enough preventative measure when Facebook is so astoundingly popular among the world’s youth.

All social network sites have small print in their terms and conditions proving that nothing in this world comes for free. Each has their own flaws that users learn about over time and each uses personal data – as do most apps – that benefit the company behind them. Facebook is not the worst offender, it must be noted that the network does have many safety features that other sites do not. However, when they hold the private information of an estimated 1.3 billion regular users worldwide it is simply not enough.

Monitoring the world’s most popular social network is no easy task but, when Facebook spend so much time and money using our private information for its own monetary gain it should shoulder the entirety of responsibility when protecting its users. Unfortunately the biggest abuser of it users seems – at times – to be Facebook itself. With so much negative attention and several court cases currently surrounding the media giant surely it is time for its users to start demanding a safer, more honest and less intrusive service? Especially for their children.

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