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Social Media and Data Security Term Paper


Social media platforms refer to internet communication channels through which people interact. They include Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Some of the benefits associated with social media use include the provision of avenues upon which companies can promote their products, enhancement of connectivity between people through effective communication despite their physical distance, and enhancement of education since these platforms are used by teachers to interact with their students. Despite the advantages offered by social platforms, there are also many demerits associated with their use, for instance, social problems, privacy, and security issues. Social media companies acquire massive personal data from their users and therefore the advantages and disadvantages of these platforms are hinged on the security of the users’ data.

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Literature Review
The technological revolution has brought numerous advantages to the human being. Technology host social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram. Social media, in turn, helps the government in promoting their products and services. Unlike before where product promotion required companies to face potential customers physically, today companies only need to post their products on social media platforms and within no time, information will have spread to potential customers. Notably, the cost of promotion as reduced significantly thanks to the new technology.

Social media platforms have played a major role in connecting people from different parts of the globe through efficient communication (DeHue 219). Today, people can share information and thoughts with others despite being far from each other. This can be done by sending messages through Facebook and WhatsApp and receiving the feedback immediately. Social media has solved the connectivity problem that was witnessed during the past decades.

Modern technology has enhanced education since teachers and students can now interact with a lot of ease without necessarily meeting in class. Online tutoring is a common phenomenon in which students ask questions to their teacher and also receive a response immediately. Notably, many educational institutions have adopted a system of administering examinations to their students in online platforms (Kawalski 618). Further, since a lot of information is available on the internet, anybody can learn about anything by logging into these social media platforms. Education has therefore been revolutionized by new technology.

However, social media also has its share of setbacks. One of the disadvantages of social media platforms that are addictive in nature. Social media addiction has become a social problem, especially among adolescents. Research conducted by Guy in regard so problems brought by social media platforms indicated that adolescents are at a higher risk of being addicted to social media more than adults. Once an individual has been addicted to it, their relationship with people around them tends to deteriorate. Similarly, adolescents spend less time reading since they spend most of their times on social media.

Security and privacy issues in social media platforms are currently a hot debate. When registering for social media platforms, users are required to provide personal and private data for example name, gender, contacts, and date of birth (Walaski 42). Also, users are requested to allow the apps to access their location (Smith et al. 381). A big question is whether this personal data is safe. It should be noted that the disclosure of these data by social media companies compromises their customers’ security and privacy.

When users’ data are released by the companies, people with ill intentions can use the data to threaten and bully the users. Cyberbullying is a common problem that has resulted in psychological problems and suicides especially among the youths (Kowalski 615, Van 492). To fully understand whether users are in danger of insecurity and privacy while online several steps and controls need to be put in place to guarantee that intrusion is not taking place.

This research relied on primary data due to its reliability (Razmerita 1231). I interviewed senior managers of various social media platforms with the aim of establishing their views on the security of the users’ personal information provided. The data collected would help in understanding whether indeed the users are safe. Similarly, I administered questionnaires to social media users with questions that specifically touch on their views on the safety of personal data provided during registration on the platforms. Analysis of the questionnaires will help in establishing whether users are aware of any security threat to their data provided.

The senior employees interviewed indicated that indeed users’ data are not safe. They reported that many users use weak passwords that can easily be hacked. Hackers can use various methods such as phishing to obtain passwords from users. With these passwords, they can sign in users’ accounts where they can extract personal data of the users. Further, cases of companies selling user’s data to people with ill intentions for financial gains have been reported (Cadwalladr and Emma 23). Since this information came from insiders, it can be concluded that indeed personal data is not safe on social media.

After the analysis of the questionnaires administered to social media users, it was realized that respondents are confident that their data are safe and the companies cannot expose them to third parties. This, however, contradicted the reports that have reported massive exposure of personal data by these companies. Responded also contradicted the response from the companies’ managers which had concurred with the researcher’s premise.

Social media platforms have both pros and cons. The Internet has enabled companies to promote their products and services at a lesser cost. Also, the emergence of social media has improved education since teachers and students can interact without necessarily being in class. Similarly, social media platforms have enabled connectivity between people. Further, the government can use social media to create awareness of conduct civic education more easily. However, social media platforms have their disadvantages.

Companies that run social media platform collect personal information from their customers which they may end up selling and thereby compromising the users’ privacy. The release of some of these data can be dangerous especially when they land in the hands of people with ill intentions such as hackers. Considering that it is unethical for these companies to do so, every company should have measures in place to prevent this from happening. Legislations should be put in place to prohibit social media companies from collecting personal information from customers. Such legislation will play a crucial role in reducing online challenges such as cyberbullying.

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Work Cited
Cadwalladr, Carole, and Emma Graham-Harrison. “Revealed: 50 Million Facebook Profiles Harvested for Cambridge Analytica in Major Data Breach.” The Guardian, vol.17, no.1, 2018, pp. 23.
DeHue, Francine, Catherine Bolman, and Trijntje Völlink. “Cyberbullying: Youngsters’ experiences and parental perception.” CyberPsychology & Behavior, vol.11, no2 ,2008, pp 217-223.
Guy, Retta. “The use of social media for academic practice: A review of the literature.” Kentucky Journal of Higher Education Policy and Practice, vol.1, no.2, 2012, pp.66-78
Hinduja, Sameer, and Justin W. Patchin. “Bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide.” Archives of suicide research, vol.14, no.3, 2010, pp.206-221.
Kowalski, Robin M., et al. Cyberbullying: Bullying in the digital age. John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Patchin, Justin W., and Sameer Hinduja. “Cyberbullying and self‐esteem.” Journal of school health vol.80, no.12, 2010, pp.614-621.
Razmerita, Liana, Kathrin Kirchner, and Pia Nielsen. “What factors influence knowledge sharing in organizations? A social dilemma perspective of social media communication.” Journal of Knowledge Management vol.20, no.6, 2016, pp.1225-1246.
Smith, Peter K., et al. “Cyberbullying: Its nature and impact in secondary school pupils.” Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, vol.49, no.4, 2008 pp. 376-385.
Walaski, Pamela. “Social media: Powerful tools for SH&E professionals.” Professional Safety, 2013, pp.40-49.
Van den Eijnden, Regina J.J.M, Jeroen S. Lemmens, and Patti M. Valkenburg. “The Social Media Disorder Scale.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 61, 2016, pp. 478-487.

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