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The Death of Privacy This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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We live in a society in which almost everyone uses social media. One of the first things that we ask people when we meet them is whether or not they have a Facebook account. The internet is an invention that has had a tremendous impact on the world. It is a place where people can communicate with one another and share what is on their minds. But are people sharing too much? Many blame websites such as Facebook for causing problems in their personal lives. In theory, these problems could be avoided if social media websites were put to an end, but many feel that they cannot live without them. With so many people willingly using social media to give away their personal information, can the websites really be blamed for limiting the privacy of their users? Peter Cashmore, CEO of Mashable Inc. claimed, “Privacy is dead, and social media holds the smoking gun.” As social media becomes more popular, the privacy of internet users is diminishing whether they know it or not.

Cashmore asserts that peoples’ privacy has disappeared with the emergence of new social media websites. He compares social media to a smoking gun because it has turned into something potentially dangerous to it’s users. Social media has been a troublemaker in the lives of many people. There are daily stories on the news relating to mishaps involving Facebook or other websites. Programs have even been set up in schools to educate students on social media. Recently, a teenager named Amanda Todd committed suicide due to cyber bullying. Her peers misused social media sites by posting hurtful comments and statuses about her, even though this is against the privacy policy of most sites. Another incident occurred when a young man posted on Facebook that him and his family would be going on vacation and came back to a house that had been robbed. Social media websites are often blamed for cyber bullying and crime. However, users are choosing to share “what’s on their minds” or reveal contact information. The websites cannot be blamed for limiting peoples’ privacy. Users choose which information they wish to reveal and how they use social media. The privacy of people is decreasing because people are making poor decisions when using social media sites and are unaware of the consequences that may follow. Social media is limiting peoples’ privacy but only because of the way people are choosing to use it.

I do not like sharing my personal information on Facebook or other social media sites. I limit my information to only a few accounts and only post information that I do mind if people see. I limit my statuses to only important events or questions and use social media mainly to communicate with friends and classmates. I don’t believe that my online “friends” are interested in knowing about my every move. However, I am aware of many people that abuse Facebook and their ability to post statuses. I see statuses and photographs from people who I have barely spoken to. Seeing people post statuses such as “Out with my friends.” is not only redundant, but annoying. I see statuses from strangers giving away their phone numbers and inviting people to parties and other events. I always wonder if they understand that they are setting themselves up. Anyone could take the information that they post and put them in danger. Many of my friends all post statuses about their personal relationships. By going on Facebook, I become aware of the little as well as big things going on in peoples’ lives. When people argue on Facebook about others’ becoming involved in their business, I always laugh to myself. I feel that they’ve been asking for the “drama” all along by using Facebook to share their every thought. I think that social media has definitely given the people the opportunity to be more open, but it is getting out of hand. If people continue to use social media to give away all of the details of their lives, the internet cannot be blamed for destroying peoples’ privacy.

Lots of teenagers say that they cannot live without Facebook, but they fail to realize that Facebook might actually be taking their lives away. One might argue that social media is necessary because it allows for people to communicate and offer help to one another. It also gives people the chance to be more open and express themselves better. It is true that social media can be beneficial. I often use Facebook to communicate with fellow classmates and to offer and receive help with assignments. However, creating an online group where the members can discuss homework is completely different from posting a status about the amount of homework a person has and why they are disappointed by it. Similarly, sending photographs from a party to a friend through a personal e-mail is not the same as creating an entire album that is visible to the public. Although social media has bettered our lives to a certain extent, we have been forced to make sacrifices as a result. Nowadays, employers and colleges can easily log onto social media sites and learn things about us that we may have wished to keep private. Had social media sites never existed, it would have been easier to keep a secret. But every time that we log onto Facebook we are greeted with a question, “What’s on your mind?” Many social media users are unaware of the subtle traps that are causing them to reveal information that they otherwise would have kept to themselves.

I don’t believe that privacy is dead, but I believe that it is dying. With all of the crime and tragedy that has occurred in relation to social media, the websites have definitely killed privacy of users to some extent. Many users continue to be unaware of the possible consequences of using Facebook to share personal information. Since social media sites are coming up with new ways to allow people to share even more personal information, their will definitely be less privacy. As social media causes privacy to fade, I cherish my few moments and thoughts that do not end up on Facebook.



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