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onsdag 24 november 2010

Privacy in social media (Wed Dec 1)

Several seminar groups chose to discuss the question about why we choose to upload so much of our personal stuff to Facebook despite the service's flimsy privacy and ownership assurances.

I mentioned that two students at media technology will present their bachelor's thesis on a related topic next week. The date and time for Dhavyd and Amel's presentation is Wed Dec 1 at 13.00-13.30 in seminar room 1635 (top floor in building E).

The presentation will unfortunately be in Swedish, but some of you still might find it interesting to attending the presentation/defense of "Privacy in social media: A study of young people's privacy on Facebook". Here is the English-language abstract (the English language needs to be fixed in the final version of the thesis, but it is still more relevant here than the better-written Swedish-language abstract):

Social media combines social interaction and user‐generated content. One of the most famous and used social media is the Web site Facebook, which is based on people make contact with others, share interests by different groups, post photos, and more. A subject that is often debated in the context of the social media rampage is how the privacy is considered.

The concept of privacy is not yet defined in the Swedish legislation. Under the European Convention the personal integrity or personal liberty is about "freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers". In our own environment, we have noticed that many people tend to publish much information about their privacy on the Internet. Thus we ask ourselves: "What are the views of people for privacy on the Internet?" This question we try to answer in this report.

Since young people constitute a large proportion of users on Facebook, we chose to examine how young people in secondary school age think and act on social networks, especially Facebook. We conducted three focus groups, at Tullinge gymnasium in Botkyrka, where we asked a number of issues including surrounding their usage and behavior on Facebook. We, however, tried not to pay us only at our own affairs and let the conversations take different directions, depending on what young people themselves raised.

Most of the focus group participants pointed out that Facebook has become a trend and we felt that there was an undertone about why they feel compelled to join because "everyone is there" (more in Section 6.2).

We found in focus groups that young people were very willing to share their private life and most of them are not worried about what they post on Facebook. To some extent, they rely on the chosen security settings, but we noticed that many of them were completely unaware of some potential hazards (Section 7.2). Although it said the majority of participants in the focus groups that they do not need any kind of help to understand such dangers in social media. They would, however, like to see such assistance to the young teenagers who are just beginning to participate in such forums. We note however that even the elderly who seem to be more experienced and knowledgeable need help, but not as much as the younger ones.

We concluded that young people in today's society tend to publish much about their private lives, but often depends some parts of this behavior on ignorance about what impact certain behavior could lead to.


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