The Privacy Paradox

I remember that in the past, a number of Facebook users, including myself, were concerned about Facebook’s privacy policies, and the constant changing settings. For me, I want to make sure strangers can’t access my Facebook to see photos and videos or learn personal information about me. However, then let me ask you this: Why do we do it? Why do we publicly post information and photographs to Facebook, if in reality, we are so worried about privacy! Are we really concerned with our right to privacy, or are we more worried about our online impressions?

According to a study conducted by the journal of psychology, narcissism is an integral part when it comes to privacy settings. A lot of times, there is a scale of narcissism that effects how private someone keeps ones settings. But beyond that, the simple term “privacy” has a loose meaning when it comes to social media. No one forces you to participate in social media, yet we all do it. And yet, we all complain about our right to privacy, and making sure we keep a good online impression. I think that users in fact, do, put a lot of sensitive material on their social media sites. We want to view each other in positive light, and we want to make a good impression for others to see.

Social media really is a paradox when it comes to privacy, and it all comes back to being a community of narcissists. There is no reason to portray yourself on social media, other than for your own benefit. Each social media site, of course has benefits for others, for employers, for families, etc. However, the most rewarding benefit is always for the individual user. As an individual, we often spend plenty of time deciding what to type and how to express our words via Facebook. However, did you ever think that Facebook engineers could code our written words, even if we choose NOT to publish them? The Facebook company is actually able to collect data of words we type in the status update box, even if we press the backspace button and never even publish them online. This is an extremely interesting point, as it can show a lot about an individual, and how much time we take to figure out the perfect words to publish for all to see. This kind of data is called “self-censorship”, an interesting term regarding social media. We do tend to censor ourselves, as we backspace, delete, and oftentimes never actually post what we want to say. Social media, then, goes far beyond what we express to the public, but what our minds configure and what we choose to and choose not to publicize. In other words, Facebook considers our THOUGHTS, not simply our words. This makes me think that social media can actually be used to analyze the individual mind much more than we are currently aware. 

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