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.
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.
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