Privacy and Freedom of Speech

This quote changed the way I think about privacy. I always considered the surveillance to be a good thing because it protects people from those who want to do harm. And, in fact, why would I mind being watched, if I do not have anything to hide.

However, even though majority of people might never face negative consequences of the constant surveillance we are under, it does not mean that there are not any.

As with a freedom of speech, privacy is required the most in times of instability and dissatisfaction with the way things work in society. Imagine no freedom of speech during the Martin Luther King’s time. Imagine an activist fighting against a corrupted government and that government being able to find out his private information and even location from CCTV or online accounts in social networks.

Privacy appears to be one of the things that guarantee our democracy and, for the matter of fact, a freedom of speech. Surveillance serves a good purpose in society enhancing our security, but we need to be careful of what we share online and how much freedom we give the government and those in power to watch us.

The power of the “audience”

One of the most fascinating subjects for me is the power we have as users of the Internet. We already discussed in previous posts how much audience participation influences web content and thus, society. Now, I’d like to go deeper into the subject and discuss the impact of crowdfunding web pages.

As you probably know or guess, crowdfunding websites provide users with the option to create a fundraising page for a certain cause or idea. Then other users are able to fund this idea and share it online. One touching example of how these pages change lives is the recent case of the homeless person Mark. On March 4, the 21-year old Nicole missed the last train home at 3am and Mark helped her go home safely. Out of gratitude, Nicole set up a crowding page for Mark with a goal of £8000. Today, the page has raised £13,143 for the wellbeing of this noble man.

Crowdfunding is also used for start-up businesses, innovative ideas and even charity work. It provides the incredible possibility to pitch the masses to support your creation. With a good idea and engaging story to tell, you can persuade the audience into participating and bringing the idea to life.

Privacy is Important

’Surveillance helps to constitute the world as a modern’ (Lyon, 2003:161) and over this module, there has been a lot mentioned about privacy and the fact we don’t have much of it anymore. This especially applies to the use of social media. The fact that when we post something, it is shared with the world and even if we delete it, there will still be access to the post somehow.

The Panopticon theory shares the idea that we are constantly being watched.

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Linking this to privacy online it is interesting to know that we are constantly being watched online. On social media and our internet history, it can be accessed by authorities if they want to and have a good reason to, without the user knowing.

I think the concept of having online privacy (mainly focusing on social media) is unusual. Why would you want to be private online on social media if the whole idea of social media is to share thoughts and things that happen in our lives that are interesting?

Privacy is the right to be left alone and this should apply online to some extent. Most of the world are constantly online and belong to some platform on social media, so they should be educated on the laws regarding privacy and know that they can be ‘watched online’.

A way to control

Throughout this module we have discussed how technology has led to the decrease in social interaction. Suggesting online communication does not satisfy our social needs and instead makes us feel alone despite having many virtual friends. However, i feel this concept is plausible as we are not loosing social interaction but instead are able to control how we interact.

This is clearly shown through the rapid increase in the use of online dating sites. Many are set up with similar formats to social media sites allowing users to have pictures, put in their interests and decide who they want to have a date with. This freedom of choice allows user to create an ideal version of themselves which I assume can led to disappointment, as the expectation from the online version of ourselves can not always live up to the reality.

So why do it ?

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Social media allows us to control many aspects of our lives through easy access to large quantities of information and ability to choose on social networking sites. Therefore, online dating is another way we can control aspects of our lives. This control altenematly expresses the freedom which comes with a network society and encourages our excessive use. But do you think we have the control or is our excessive use an addiction?

 

Our Instagram “Aesthetics”

Examining something that I use so routinely in my everyday life, like social media, in such a critical way has made me a lot more conscious about not only the way I’m using it, but the way others are.

More specifically the ideas of online identities. When using a social media platform like Instagram, I would never have given any thought to the amount of effort I and many of my friends put into the ‘aesthetics of their instagrams’. But, the idea of an alternate online identity has made me question whether we present ourselves on social media as we are or as what we want to be. Are we being deceitful?

Instead of deceit, I think it’s a bit more like branding yourself. I’m not a stranger to the idea of having to have a personal brand in order to be successful, but it seems like it’s something that we’re already doing just as someone living in the digital age. I would argue that you can tell a lot about a person just by looking at their Instagram.  For example, the instagram aesthetics on Jayden Smith’s instagram immediately let you know what a fashion forward hipster he is, or at least wants you think he is.

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Online Security: Will it get worse?

Having looked at many aspects of the internet and the way in which social media operates, the area that captured my attention most, was online visibility.

I have developed a fascination with the ability to communicate with many, through the click of a button. However, one thing that we tend to forget about, is how everyone’s information gets ‘there.’ The social cloud is a perfect example of convergence and how we’ve adapted our ways of living in today’s society. It allows us to save or record information in order for us to return back to it a later date – without the use of a physical hard-drive. Although there are many pros to the social cloud, I think there are just as many cons to how visible we and our information is online. I believe that this has or will open up further debate on the safety of personal information (and its unintentional distribution) whether it will be a greater cause for concern; than it already is today.
Something I’ve always wanted to look at critically speaking, is the idea of copyright within online security, sounds strange I know… Hear me out! For example, YouTube has created a way in which it is now difficult to play a musicians music without permission or clear reference to the musician in question. However, I don’t get paid residuals for someone using my personal information; that includes addresses, emails and pictures. E.g. Sending me junk mail! Even the fact that my elector roll details are online, I don’t like it and I don’t think I ever will. My information, my choice! Whose with me?

kany approves

 

Facebook strategy

In 2016 Facebook replaced usual Like button with Reactions. The like button is the engine of Facebook and its most recognized symbol. Changing the button is like Coca-Cola messing with its secret recipe. Why to risk?

In 2014 Facebook held a secrete experiment in which it manipulated information posted on 689,000 users’ home pages and fount it could make people feel more positive or negative.

The results revealed that emotions expressed by others on Facebook can also influence our own emotions.

I believe that if Facebook can mess with users’ home pages, it can also use users for the research purposes and people will not even know about this. We pressed ‘Like’, but we did not emphasize if we do it because we like the content, if we are upset about something, or if we are excited. Now it has changed and we can be categorized. People are using Reactions and they feel that they can express themselves more clearly, while in reality for some people it can be seen as a perfect source for exploring and manipulating our emotions. We show and give Facebook our values for free without thinking, but for them it is the most precious data they can ever get. In my opinion, Facebook will take advantage of this data, because a decision to replace the most recognized symbol of the company is quite serious.

In my opinion, Like button replacement is not a coincidence, it is a very well-played game with our minds. What do you think about Reactions?