Invasion of Privacy in Design

Are we still in this debate? Social media is a very dangerous prospect, I like to call it the “Wild West of the 21st Century” because right now there isn’t an effective way of monitoring social media appropriately, on the 4th of October 2012, Mark Zuckerberg(Co-founder of Facebook) made a statement, and I quote “This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month”, how can that be patrolled? The answer is, it can’t.

Patrolling is not what I’m looking to achieve here, it’s something much greater; I want to achieve greater integration of privacy settings through design. Let me explain, there may be a short tutorial at the beginning when you register for a website such as Facebook, but does it really emphasize what you’re setting yourself up for?

I came across quite a devastating tale of a 15-year-old Canadian teenager, by the name of Amanda Todd who committed suicide on the 10th of October due to a severe case of Cyber-bullying, sadly it was a week ago from today. I’m not going to pin this on Facebook because that would be a crude thing to do, but surely this should raise questions about there is an issue with the privacy of Facebook. Just for those who don’t know about this case, I’ll summarize; Amanda Todd made a few mistakes, and one of those mistakes came back to her through a 32-year-old-male tracking her down and blackmailing her with naked photos of the young teenager. I’m deeply saddened about this. Awareness through design needs to be provided about security and safety on Facebook, the average Facebook user is getting younger, designers have a responsibility.

I’m sure there’s a majority of people who have enough common sense to know not to fully expose their page worldwide with no filter settings, it doesn’t take a genius to work that out but the amount of people that allow other stupendous amounts of their data to be shown to the category – “Friends of Friends” option on Facebook is absurd. When I befriend on Facebook I don’t take into consideration about exposing my personal details to this person I may have just accepted, should it really be that easy?

Befriending people on Facebook is portrayed as quite innocent because there are people who have thousands of friends, exposing a lot of personal details to these “friends” which the majority is probably strangers.  Facebook now has a role in our society to provide a service to the world, don’t get me wrong I think it’s a great service but it definitely has it’s flaws.

You know what I want, I don’t think I’m asking too much here, they have the facilities, they’re not making it apparent through design, it’s a feature that exists, but it might as well be extinct. Through my Graphic Design piece I want to convey how easy it is to get personal details of a person currently using Facebook, who is unaware of how simplistic the task is to access such important details.

In my final piece I’m making a Birth Certificate of someone I’ve never met, and probably never will meet, using only information I’ve gathered from Facebook to prove a harsh point, is it really that easy to get strict details for such an important document as a Birth Certificate? The answer is, you can.


Important articles: Facebook statistics | Social media statistics


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