Social Media Sites Need to Focus on Security

Just yesterday, as I was perusing the Facebook world, I noticed my friend (in real life, and on Facebook) posted a status, “I didn’t actually know I wouldn’t get an internship because of my Facebook profile picture. Good thing it was of me drinking and holding hands with another dude.”  Today, he has changed his name on Facebook to his first and middle name instead of including his last name, and has “hidden” all of his tagged pictures.

Social media users are smart enough to personalize their own privacy settings online and monitor what information they put on the web.  Although there may be a lack of privacy, social media users overlook it because of the advantages, such as no cost and contact with friends.  Social media sites need to focus their concerns on keeping sites secure and difficult to hack.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, said at the Crunchie awards in San Francisco that privacy is no longer a “social norm.”

Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are all free for account holders.  The reason why these companies can afford to run while allowing free access is advertisements.  For example, when one logs in on their Facebook account, a set of cookies are enabled to record other sites they view. These cookies enable Facebook advertisements to relate to what we are searching on the Internet, which is affective for advertising agencies. Similarly, Twitter will show promoted trending topics.

If sites like these were to give users complete privacy, account holders would be charged.  Although complaints have been made against social media sites, Facebook in particular, about lack of privacy, there would be more uproar if these sites began charging a fee, even with promised privacy.

If one thinks that they don’t have enough privacy on these sites, the resolution is simple, delete your account. Most of these sites are meant for sharing information.  Of course, we don’t want everyone in the Facebook world to see our photo albums, but that is what privacy settings are for. 

These sites need to be less focused on pleasing account holders in personal privacy, and more focused on making the sites safe in terms of hacking. According to a Gallup survey, 65% of Facebook users are concerned about internet viruses.  Facebook should secure their site efficiently so postings and viruses don’t deter consumers. With the recent hacking scandal on Facebook, users have become concerned. 

According to Facebook, some account holders were tricked into pasting a code into their browser which gave hackers access to their profiles.

“Protecting the people who use Facebook from spam and malicious content is a top priority for us, and we are always working to improve our systems to isolate and remove material that violates our terms,” said Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes.

Facebook has been able to stay popular because it is constantly revamping and gaining applications to keep users interested.  According to Chester Wisniewki, a researcher at Sophos, these outside programmers bring a security threat.

Wisniewski said that in order to stop the hacking, Facebook should start checking credentials of programmers and give users the option to check over options. 

Social media sites are thriving, so it is an important time to ensure Internet security. This added security will put social media account holders at ease and enable the sites to continue to grow.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons