Why is privacy important in Social Media?

Essay, 2020

7 Pages, Grade: 3.3


Table of contents

Importance of Privacy in Social Media

Reputation Management

Helps To Maintain Reasonable Social Boundaries

Control over an Individual’s Life

Freedom of Thought and Speech


Why Is Privacy Important In Social Media? Should People Have Private or Public Accounts

Social media refers to forms of communications that employ the use of computer and mobile technology which allows users to create virtual communities. In recent years social media has presented one of the best platforms where friends, colleagues, and family share unforgettable moments (Chen, 2018). Social media users create platforms through their devices where other users can share their experiences, participate in discussions, and establish networks (Abokhodair & Hodges, 2019). Networks established on social media may influence the perception of individuals on matters of politics, social, and economics. Social media users post information about their private life, business or general public matters. The privacy of information posted on social media sites has been of great concern recently (Chen, 2018). Social media users regard privacy as an important issue that needs to be handled seriously. Some of the popular social media include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram (Chen, 2018). This paper explores the importance of privacy in social media and the decision between owning private and public social media accounts.

Importance of Privacy in Social Media

Since the invention of social media, several companies have been breaching the privacy of social media users. Big data mining companies have been traversing social media sites collecting information about individuals and using this information in targeted advertisements (Chen, 2018). An example of a data mining company is Cambridge Analytica that has been mining social media data for political advertisements. This company accesses an individual's social media information including public posts then analyses this information for use in a targeted advertisement (Chen, 2018). An individual’s privacy is important and should never be infringed however small it may look. The following are some of the reasons why social media privacy is important.

Reputation Management

An individual’s social media activities can make or break his or her reputation. Privacy comes in handy when individuals want to protect their reputation. Social media users influence their opportunities and relationships with other people through their social media activity. Reputations are built through our association with others. It is not easy to influence how other people see us but social media privacy can help us with this task (Chen, 2018). By sharing private information on social media individuals subject themselves to public judgments. Some of the judgments may not be fair because of misunderstanding or judgments based on a small portion of the story (Fandia Purwaningtyas, 2019). Individuals may protect their reputation by sharing such information to intimate friends and family. Most of the social media accounts have a tab under their privacy settings where they can choose to share their stories and activities with close friends or with the general public.

Helps To Maintain Reasonable Social Boundaries

Some social media users prefer to make a social boundary between them and other people in society. Social boundaries are important because it reduces trawling on social media. Individuals have different life experiences some of which are good and others may be devastating (Fandia Purwaningtyas, 2019). While going through tough times, individuals might want to stay away from the public. These individuals may need silent places where they can find solitude and relax without disturbance from other people. Social media privacy is important because it gives them much needed loneliness to meditate and reflect on their lives. Social media privacy helps individuals to mind their businesses without interference from the outside world. Privacy is also important because it reduces the amount of information we get concerning other people.

Control over an Individual’s Life

Privacy is important because it enables individuals to have control over their life. Personal information is very important in making decisions about an individual. Important decisions such as being employed, getting a loan, oversea travelling, and criminal investigations depend on personal information (Chen, 2018). Data mining breaches our privacy by sharing important information about us without our knowledge which greatly impacts the outcome of such crucial decisions. Through data breaches, a lot of decisions are made secretly without our awareness (Chen, 2018). An individual may be denied entry at an airport because of a decision that was made without his or her awareness. Besides, other individuals may be denied jobs; others denied loans even when they qualify. Violation of individuals’ privacy, collecting their data and using such data to make critical decisions without their participation makes them helpless. Social media privacy can be important in controlling some of these decisions (Fandia Purwaningtyas, 2019). Restricting access to vital personal information can help individuals to have control over their life. This is because no decisions will be made in secret without their awareness. Therefore privacy is important because it gives individuals control over their life.

Freedom of Thought and Speech

Without privacy, individuals may shy away from speaking what they think is right for them. Social media privacy can help individuals to speak out their mind. When individuals know that they are being watched by the government, employers and other people of interest they may not express their contrary ideas (Chen, 2018). Individuals may want to criticize the government or their friends and remain anonymous. Other individuals may want to talk about ideas that people in their circles dislike. Social media privacy may grant such individuals their wish (Masur & Scharkow, 2016). Privacy will enable them to express their ideas without possible attacks from people who are against their ideas (Chen, 2018). Besides, social media privacy enables individuals to engage in activities without having to justify their actions (Chen, 2018). Privacy also gives individuals a second chance to change their behaviour without being criticized. It also helps individuals to limit the power of outside players on their lives such as government, employment agencies and financial institutions such as banks.

The question as to whether people should have public or private social media account is of great debate. Having a private or public account should be an individual decision. An individual may decide to have private or public social media accounts (Chen, 2018). Other individuals may choose to have both private and public accounts. Individuals should be given the freedom to choose the number of accounts they want to operate. This is because different individuals live in different circumstances and have different needs.

In conclusion, social media privacy is an important matter that needs the full attention of its users in this era of likes, comments and tweets. When individuals have privacy over their information, they may express their thoughts, maintain reasonable social boundaries, protect their reputation and reduce other peoples influence on their lives. Social media users can enhance their privacy by deciding who they want to share their information with. This can be enhanced through privacy settings. For example, Facebook users can set their accounts as private or public. Users can also enhance their privacy by having multiple accounts. Having one account or multiple accounts should be an individual’s decision.


Excerpt out of 7 pages


Why is privacy important in Social Media?
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
media, social
Quote paper
Rodgers Agoi (Author), 2020, Why is privacy important in Social Media?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/591634


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