Empirical Study of Privacy Issues among Social Networking Sites

Joanne Kuzma

Abstract


Social media networks are increasing their types of services and the numbers of users are rapidly growing. However, online consumers have expressed concerns about their personal privacy protection and recent news articles have shown many privacy breaches and unannounced changes to privacy policies. These events could adversely affect data protection and compromise user trust, thus it is vital that social sites contain explicit privacy policies stating a comprehensive list of protection methods. This study analyzes 60 worldwide social sites and finds that even if sites contain a privacy policy, the site pages may also possess technical elements that could be used to serendipitously collect personal information. The results show specific technical collection methods most common within several social network categories. Methods for improving online privacy practices are suggested. 

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JICLT is a member of the Directory of Open-Access Journals (www.doaj.org). ISSN: 1901-8401.