Sample Paper on Social Media Industry Analysis: Personal Privacy Issues

Social Media Industry Analysis: Personal Privacy Issues

1.0 Introduction

Privacy is vital within the social media industry. It ensures consumers and investors achieve and maintain privacy of crucial and confidential information from members of public as well as cyber criminals. In order to discuss how privacy issues affect social media industry, this paper will analyze Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Launched in 2011, Google+ was primarily aimed at supplying millions of Google users across the globe with web connectivity to bring fine distinction and richness of real life. It improves relations and assists people to identify, explore, and expand their interests using the Google platform. The vision and mission of Google+ is based on the following features. Foremost, this organization comprises of user-attractive interfaces enabling users to sort connections diversely around the world. It consists of the latest feature in social media as it invites participants based on the belief that, the web is a simultaneous library and shopping mall. Invited participants are therefore provided with a platform to find new things and people through networking, communication, and cooperation. Thus, it can be compared to Facebook although it can be confirmed it strives to address the issues Facebook failed to resolve. Google+ was purposefully launched to systematize world web information (Google Inc, 2013).

Facebook was founded in 2004 in order to celebrate friendships and family while inspiring global persons to discover the world through web connections. Facebook’s mission is therefore to provide people with power and strength to connect, share, and improve the world in order to grow and be more open. This is achieved through users who remain connected with family and friends while discovering new things occurring globally. In addition, it allows the users to discuss, share, and express their feelings and emotions on the matters happening around them (Carlson, 2010).

Facebook’s rival, Twitter, was launched in 2006 with Dick Costolo as its Chief Executive Officer (Dorsey, 2006). Costolo affirms that Twitter’s mission is to provide users with power to create, share, and connect through ideas and information across the web globally without facing any barriers (Justin, 2014).

1.1 Organizations’ Privacy Policies

1.1.1 Google+

Google+, Twitter, and Facebook belong to the social media industry. As a result, they share common privacy policies. It is however also worth noting that the privacy policies also differ especially when an organization is addressing privacy issues. The privacy policy at Google+ can be described as follows. Foremost, the organization is described as a social network with layers managed by the Google Inc across the world. This allows the organization to permit users to share their identities and interests through pictures, videos, and music. Thus, the organization does not limit the number of posts a user can stream in order to share and update their personal discoveries and interests to the web community. It however ensures users group the friends into Circles. This provides users with the ability to differentiate the type of relations they uphold with global persons over the web. Consequently, they can edit the kind of messages they want persons in the Circles to access and view. More importantly, the organization provides users with private cloud-based albums hence, enhancing privacy levels (Google Inc, 2013).

1.1.2 Facebook

Facebook was among the initial organizations to be developed in the social media industry. It allows users to share and exchange pictures, videos, and messages while updating their profiles. It also allows users to form groups and categorize friends as a large volume of data is submitted through the service. Due to the large amount of data submitted through the organization, it has faced issues with regards to privacy policies. For example, National Security Agency ensured the organization provides users with complete information among people sharing and interacting through messages, pictures, and videos in 2010. This measure was to enhance the personal privacy settings users are entitled to when opening an account. The organization earns revenues through advertisements. As a result, the organization ensures peoples’ profiles are accessible to everyone as it runs banner advertisements. This privacy policy is therefore still under scrutiny and improvements especially after the organization settled with Federal Trade Commission. It faced and paid on charges of deceiving consumers with regards to privacy issues within the organization (James, Robert, Enrique & Ravi, 2014).

1.1.3 Twitter

Twitter is also among the most public and vocal social media organizations. The tweets are always public although users have an option of sending private messages through Direct Messaging application. This however does not hinder the company from collecting personal information from users and sharing it with other third parties as affirmed through the company’s privacy policy. More so, the organization can sell users’ information in form of an asset in case the firm changes leadership and management although it does not run advertisements. This however does not hinder advertisers targeting users especially based on information they have collected from a users’ tweets history. The level of security vulnerability at Twitter is therefore high a fact that was confirmed in 2007 especially when it was relying on users’ phone numbers to send messages of authentication. This provided cyber criminals with an opportunity to hack and update users’ status through SMS Spoofing which led to introduction of personal identification number. This however did not hinder users raising concerns on comprised privacy levels mainly through guessing by dictionary attackers. The privacy issues were still experienced in 2010 and 2011 until it acquired Dasient providing malware protection (Yoree, 2014). It is therefore evident Google+, Twitter, and Facebook face diverse issues in attempts to adhere to their privacy policies

2.0 Recommended Policy Changes to:

2.1 Increase Business Advantage and Profitability

2.1.1 Google+

The main strategy Google+ ought to apply should involve addressing the challenges the organizational challenges it faces. The organization should therefore improve internal communication as well as organize and market business operations and functions (Phil, 2012). Consequently, interactions between customers should be improved. For example, enabling customers to access business information as well as selling and purchasing of products and services through the online platform can increase the number of users.

Several security threats associated with using Google+ should be addressed with the view of enhancing user friendly. Spam which refers to the process of soliciting messages without the owners authorization ought to be eliminated. Viruses as well as other programs premeditated to multiply and harm users’ programs should also be blocked. Phishing or generation of emails sent to users imitating an official source should also be blocked to ensure phony sites and links are not accessible to users hence; reduce cyber criminal activities (OET, 2013).

2.1.2 Facebook

Increasing business advantages and profitability at Facebook is mainly based on the organization addressing security threats faced by users and investors. As a result, the following ought to be adopted. Foremost, the organization should guide users to check firewalls to enhance security in order to prevent illegal access to users’ private and confidential information. Investors should be advised to open emails and attachments from the social network site carefully by ensuring they originate genuinely from the organization. The organization should eliminate procedures and programs storing business computer passwords. Conversely, it can enhance security measures protecting users’ and investors passwords to prevent theft of private and crucial information. Consequently, users will increase and the organization will record improved number of investors and partners willing to invest and fund the organization’s plans to expand (James, Robert, Enrique & Ravi, 2014).

2.1.3 Twitter

Twitter faces similar security issues common to the social media industry. As a result, it ought to adopt new strategies aimed at seizing opportunities. For example, it should continue creating big data business partnerships and contractual relations with investors. It should however maintain control new developments in the organization (Yoree, 2014). Consequently, third party limiting the speed of development can be avoided. This process will enhance the collective and commercial value and associations maintained by the organization. More so, new partners willing to enhance security measures at the organization can be identified and allowed to develop high level measures to protect users’ privacy (Michael & Victor, 2015).

2.2 Protect Customer Personal Information to Avoid Possible Privacy or Liability Issues

2.2.1 Google+

Organizations such as Google+ can be sued when users face security threats. For example, when a cyber criminal poses as an online banker, victims can provide personal information likely to lead to financial loss and identity theft. The main strategy should therefore rely on keystroke logger. This will ensure electronic infections likely to affect users are identified. Accordingly, users’ keystrokes likely to be maneuvered by attackers will be cosseted. Through users’ computer software and hardware, they can be protected from social and commercial losses further protecting the organization from legal suits (FCC, 2013).

2.2.2 Facebook

Generally, Accepted Privacy Principles were formulated to protect social media providers and uses. As a result, Facebook ought to ensure users’ rights and obligations to privacy are maintained. This can be achieved by the organization collecting, using, and retaining personal information from users without disclosing and disposing it to other users or cyber criminals. Thus, financial, political, religious, sexual, and racial information among other types likely to put a user at a vulnerable position to suffer from a cyber attack will be protected. Consequently, legal suits against the organization will reduce (AICPA, 2013).

2.2.3 Twitter

This organization often provides users’ information to the public due to minimal security restrictions. In order to enhance users’ privacy protection hence, reducing legal suits the organization ought to consider its jurisdictions. Foremost, users’ geographical areas should not be disclosed to avoid targeted attacks. Users posting private information such as credit card details should be blocked protecting ill-informed applicants and the organization. Lastly, the organization should also formulate rules ensuring users forming contracts online acknowledge the firm is not liable (OET, 2013).

3.0 Conclusion

Social media industry has been growing and expanding mainly due to advancing technologies. This growth has played an integral role in the increase of web activities globally. Companies should also acknowledge positive and negative effects of sustaining and expanding the industry. Consequently, they can formulate measures to enhance the positive effects and prevent or eliminate negative effects. The main measures to adopt should however involve enhancing security measures protecting users from cyber attacks such as phishing, spamming, and viruses. This will prevent loss of private information while enhancing users’, investors and partners’ confidence and loyalty leading to social and commercial growth and development.

4.0 References

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). (2013). An Executive Overview of Generally Accepted Privacy Principles. Information Technology Resources Review.

Carlson, N. (2010). At Last, the Full Story of How Facebook was Founded. Business Insider.

Dorsey, J. (2006). Just Setting up my Twitter. Business Insider.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC). (2013). Cyber Security Planning Guide. Federal Communications Commission Report.

Google Inc (2013). Google+ Hangouts and Photos: Save Some Time, Share Your Story. Google Inc Official Blog.

James, P., Robert, S., Enrique, C., & Ravi, C. (2014). Seven Ways to Profit from Big Data as a Business. The Boston Consulting Group Report.

Justin, F. (2014). Why Twitter’s Mission Statement Matters. Harvard Business Review.

Michael, E. P., & Victor, E. M. (2015). How Information Gives You Competitive Advantage. Harvard Business Review.

Ontario E-Business Toolkit (OET). (2013). How you Can Profit from E-Business: An Introductory Handbook. Ontario Queen’s Printers.

Phil, L. (2012). Simple Strategies for Enhancing E-Commerce Profitability. A First Data Corporation White Paper.

Yoree, K. (2014). Twitter Sharpens Its Strategy to Win Over Investors. The Wall Street Journal.