As one of the most outstanding products of the internet, social networking sites play an essential role in modern life. They proliferating and have attracted millions of users and hundreds of social webs are daily visited by users (Facebook Statistic, 2009). With the large use of social networks, some problems have appeared at the same time. This essay is going to discuss the advantages and drawbacks of social networks.
This essay will state two significant benefits which are social networks are convenient connection tools and platforms for sharing diversity information, and then talk about the most two serious security problems: disclosure of privacy and the easy way for broadcasting inaccurate information. Social networks have caused a revolution in the way how people communicate. They provide platforms for users to connect and communicate with not only relatives and friend in their real world but also friends made through the internet.
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According to Barbera (2009), SNSs allow every user to describe themselves by entering information of their background such as schools they had entered, demographics (e. g. gender, age) and cultural tastes (e. g. favorite books, movies, singers). Users can post photos and also write about themselves on their profiles, making self-promotion. By this way, social networking enables people to connect and show themselves to friends and get to communicate with that person regularly that is very similar to hooking up with their friends after work or school.
Moreover SNSs create a way for making new friends with that share the same interests. For example people who are greatly interest in basketball, they could join in the same community and talk about that. Social networking also is a free place made for people to upload information on many fields. Since users allow posting pictures, video and other kinds of documents, these material contains abundant information which evolved from some tips of daily life to academic research to satisfy individual needs and interests (Jain& Sonnen, 2011).
For example, a member in a community which is focus on how to cook easily could blog an article to share some personal ideas on how to use microwaves to make delicious and time-saving dishes, so members of that group even other public users have the authority to access this material. Also students take greatly benefits of social network sites by finding relevant sources of their academic study after schools. According to a survey made by Rizzuto (2009), a large number of college students approach that material provided by SNSs helps them achieve better academic performance remarkably.
On the other hand, the personal information of users might be disclose by incidence or used by other people for illegality. Many people troubled by numerous junk mails chock up their mailboxes and nuisance calls, this phenomenon might be partly constituted by privacy disclosure from SNSs. Some criminals take advantage of the personal information post on websites or break into SNSs to steal private information for financial motivation. Stealing information from one organization in order to sell to another is the most common one; other financial cheats may include credit card number theft and defraudation.
Mark Weston (2010) indicated that many enthusiastic employees post blogs about their work or about the business, regardless of the security problem. Some companies have suffered a great loss because their employees publish some sensitive business secrets. The accuracy of information will be doubt since everyone can post all kinds of material free and easily. Sasi and Arenius (2008) pointed out that the rapid development of the SNSs didn’t contribute to set up people’s faith on them, but increase more query. Some incidents recently happened expose the drawbacks of SNSs.
Two Chinese young men posted a video on Sina weibo (Chinese most popular micro blogging service) showing that 5,000 policemen and 100 police vehicles were seen guarding a wedding convoy in the city on Dec. 6. 2011. The video spread quickly and led to a drastic discussion during the users. Soon it turned out to be a rumor and these two men were accused of spreading false information. The broadcasting of the inaccurate information is not only possible to mislead the general public, but also lead to some unnecessary scare even negative social effect.
Especially for those immature teenagers, they are more likely to be instigated by false and farfetched information. Social networking sites provide a public place for everyone to communicate online. Through this platform, people are able to share all kinds of information. However, this tool might cause some serious security troubles especially the disclosure of personal information and spreading of false information. “Social networking sites are here to stay. Their popularity has and continues to grow with each passing day” (Derrick, 2008).
There is no question that people benefit largely from this platform, on the other hand, a large variety of information provided by them need to be protected by companies, governments and individuals.