Top Pro & Con Arguments


Social media increases privacy risks across the Internet.

Social media is a hotbed of privacy risks including but not limited to phishing, data mining, malware sharing, and botnet attacks. [325]

Only 49% of Americans had any confidence that social media companies could protect their private information, the least amount of faith afforded the organizations and businesses that collect private data including the federal government, cell phone service providers, and retailers. [326]

Moreover, while 74% indicated that control over shared private information was “very important,” only 9% felt they had “a lot of control” over the information. [326]

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) argued, “​​the extraordinary growth of social media has given platforms extraordinary access and influence into the lives of users. Social networking companies harvest sensitive data about individuals’ activities, interests, personal characteristics, political views, purchasing habits, and online behaviors. In many cases this data is used to algorithmically drive user engagement and to sell behavioral advertising—often with distortive and discriminatory impacts.” [327]

Further, as EPIC noted, “tracking and behavioral advertising by social media companies is not limited to the platforms themselves. Firms like Facebook use hard-to-detect tracking techniques to follow individuals across a variety of apps, websites, and devices. As a result, even those who intentionally opt out of social media platforms are affected by their data collection and advertising practices.” [327]

Thus, social media compromises everyone’s data across the Internet, including “location information, health information, religious identity, sexual orientation, facial recognition imagery, private messages, personal photos, and more.” Much of that information can be used for identity theft, in-person robbery, and any number of other crimes. And, as noted above in the argument about cyberbullying, the release of such information could also result in stalking, outing LGBTQ+ people, and religious intolerance online. The information could also be used to influence opinions and spread misinformation among vulnerable people. [327] [328]

Additionally, information gathered from social media can be used by insurers to deny health coverage or home insurance, businesses to deny employment, and others to make decisions. [329]

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