Social Media Surveillance- How Concerned should we be?

Along with the rest of the world I have become a victim of the Pokemon Go phenomenon- I find myself spending endless hours searching for Pokemon everywhere that I go- I just have to catch ’em all!

Recently though I have been seeing a lot of articles that are questioning the privacy settings of the game- claiming that its makers will have access to private information which among others includes access to our emails. Of course, since this has come to light the company has made statements claiming that they are doing their best to rectify the matter. All this chatter has gotten me wondering about all the other games and social media that we use constantly throughout the day and if we are unknowingly (or sometimes even knowingly) giving people access to information about ourselves.

Most games or even productivity apps for that matter all require you to sign up using either an email address or a social media account such as Facebook or Twitter. I myself am one of those lazy people who opt to use my Facebook account to sign up most of the time so that I don’t have to spend those extra seconds typing in my email address and password in order to set everything up. The disclaimer at the bottom stating that “this app does not post to Facebook without your permission” tends to give me some sense of security.

Self Snitch by Poster Boy CC BY 2.0

My privacy settings on Facebook are set at its highest to the extent that only around 30 of my 800 friends have full access to my entire profile. In this day and age however, I don’t think that should give anyone any sense of security- information is almost too easy to find these days- If there is a will there is a way, right?

Social media knows a lot about us. Sometimes even more than we know about ourselves. I know that the idea of this may seem scary- at the same time however, what we don’t realise is that we do have some control through things like privacy setting. As social media users, it can be said that control is in our hands and as a result we are able to “choose whom to accept or deny as friends” (Fuchs et al, 2013. p.91). This gives us the opportunity to be strategic in what we post and what messages that it send out to the world.


Tweet embedded from my twitter profile on the 27th of July 2016


This article that I tweeted out however, concerns me somewhat. I understand that safety and security will be some of the reasons that Facebook would use to justify their ability to read your Facebook messages- but the very thought that they can do it is somewhat unsettling isn’t it? The article does say that Facebook is now offering us the option of turning on encryption so that they won’t be able to access messages, so at least now we can feel that our privacy is somewhat protected.

The fact of the matter is that all social media sites use one method of surveillance or another. Although this can seem like an invasion on privacy (and justifiably so), It is technically what we signed up for. As for how concerned about this we should be about this- honestly, I’m not so sure myself- but I am looking forward to researching this topic more to find out!





  • Fuchs, C, Boersma, K, Albrechtslund, A, Sandoval, M, 2013,  “The Challenges of Web 2.0 and Social Media”, in Trottier, D, Lyon, D, “Key Features of Social Media Surveillance”, Taylor and Francis, p. 91

18 thoughts on “Social Media Surveillance- How Concerned should we be?

  1. Anithra, great job on the blog! Not only did your visuals like hyperlinks and embedded tweets relate to the overall topic as well as keep me engaged, but also your language techniques. I loved how you incorporated words and phrases such as ‘catch’em all’ and ‘control in our hands’. You strategically and professionally but also personally appeal to the audience in a balanced way, like when you say ‘I am one of those lazy people’, categorizing yourself in a group of what a lot of people in society do. Also I liked how you structured your blog from important to least important.

    Good job with the references, however the title of the book goes in ‘quote’ marks. Also a minor thing, maybe reference the tweet saying it’s a screenshot of your tweet and when you retrieved it.

    Now just keep writing more so I can read more 

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Kim! It’s one of the things that I love about blogging- that I can write in a more casual tone.

      Silly mistake on the referencing, I’ll fix it now- thanks for pointing it out though- must remember to triple check before I hit that ‘publish’ button!

      Looking forward to reading some of your blog posts too 🙂


      1. A casual but still academic voice, love it too! I just swaped from wix to wordpress so I should make a start :p


  2. This blog has a nice casual but academic tone to it, which makes it easy to read and understand. The use of hyperlinks is great, this allows the read to instantly go back to the original source of the information, so that they can analyse it and draw their own conclusions. The use of contemporary examples, such as Pokemon Go, really allows the reader to connect with the issue at hand.

    Maybe for future blogs, more academic resources would be helpful, just to further explore the issue critically. This would allow for evidence to back up the anecdotal examples that you are using.


  3. Great job on this blog post, Anithra! It was not only easy to understand but also enjoyable for me to read. I loved how it got me thinking about my own social media accounts and the surveillance and privacy settings surrounding those. The embedded Tweet and image were nice touches and really helped convey the message you were trying to get across. The overall tone of your blog post – casual but still professional and informative – made it easy to relate too whilst also providing me with new information. The way you write makes information easy to take in. I would love to see you write blog posts that are even a little longer in the future. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really enjoyed reading your blog Anithra. The tone of a personal conversation allows the reader to relate with what you have written as they proceed through the blog.
    A bit of advice and something I always do before posting is to re-read the blog a couple of times to make sure you haven’t missed words. This sentence doesn’t read as well as it could. “My privacy settings on Facebook are set at its highest to the extent that only around 30 of my 800 friends full access to my entire profile.” Put “have” in between friends and full and the sentence will make sense.
    Looking forward to reading more from you. Joe.


  5. Great read Anithra! I concur with what others have said regarding the casual but still informative tone of the post. The rhetoric question you posed ( – “but the very thought that they can do it is somewhat unsettling isn’t it?”) actually got me thinking about the information we as users allow social media to take from us and what they could do with it. Can’t wait to read more from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great work, Anithra!

    I really love your style of writing. It’s professional and academic, but you also write in a way that resonates with all readers. I personally like your anecdotal examples and the rhetoric questions you have written. It really makes you think just how much personal information your social media accounts have aggregated about you!

    Your integration of multimedia is excellent as well and it flows with the text.

    My only constructive criticism would be to perhaps include a reference underneath your tweet with the date that it was taken. Other than that, I think your piece is a great introduction to the context of surveillance and social media.

    Can’t wait to read more of your work! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amazing blog Anithra, I loved the tone of this blog made it a very easy read. Away from all the scholarly research we would normally do with uni. A very relatable blog and defiantly made me start thinking about my own social media accounts. The tweet and image used really brought the whole blog together, Also good use of referencing.

    Perhaps using some more scholarly articles will enhance the sustainability of your blog and be a more reliable source, try checking out:
    Gauntlett, D 2011, Media Studies 2.0, and Other Battles around the Future of Media Research, Kindle ebook

    All together though such an incredible blog, keep up the fabulous work!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Anithra,
    I really enjoyed reading your thought-provoking post. I agreed with you, that we too freely, allow apps to access our information and that we need to think of the potential problems that may arise from this. To further support this argument, you could include a link to a story, which discusses the negative effects of this. It was impressive to see that you are already embedding a tweet and creative commons image into your post. In the future you could also think about incorporating more academic sources into your blog and being more creative with the name of the post; as I felt your heading was a bit straightforward. Overall this was a highly engaging and insightful post.


    1. Thanks Rachel, glad you found this post interesting! I know it could use more academic research and I will look into it. As for the title of the post, I know its a bit straightforward and I did contemplate changing it but I decided to keep it in the end as I answer the question I asked in the title in the last paragraph 🙂


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