January 4, 2011
By britt0936 SILVER, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
britt0936 SILVER, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
8 articles 0 photos 0 comments

This generation is centered around the use of technology. Everything always has to be new and innovative, and if that is not kept up with one will fall behind. That fact does not forget to include the use of social networking sites such as Facebook.

When looking at a Facebook page, there is a lot to be found about a person: who they’re in a relationship with, what type of mood they’re in, Farmville accomplishments, festive events, and photo albums.
While this information is helpful in getting to know someone, other more harmful information can also be found. Updates like “cheated on my wife,” and “my boss sucks” can be found by people that make you wish you would have left those thoughts in the privacy of your own mind. The question at stake: what if this information was made available for research? There are over 500 million Facebook users; what larger trends of the lives of these users could be discovered by looking at this data?
In his article, “Every day we Write the Book”, Michael Agger quotes Marshall Kirkpatrick at, a man who wants Facebook to open up its data for research. He says “when both U.S. Census information and real estate mortgage loan information were made available for bulk analysis, the discriminatory practice of redlining was discovered.” He also believes that, “patterns of comparable importance” could be found from the large amount of data on Facebook.
Although the use of this data could be potentially helpful to the government, and other sorts of companies, this is an invasion of privacy. Facebook with an available agreement with terms and regulations would be a different story; however, distributing of public information, when the users don’t know otherwise, is wrong.

People don’t lie on Census information or on mortgage loans. It is a crime. Facebook, however, does not apply to those rules. Anyone can post anything and everything they want, and who is to say it’s not false information? Whichever organization is trying to analyze the data will get false results.
Agger also shares a fact in his article about the Gross National Happiness Index: “The Facebook Data Team, for example, tries to measure how happy people are on Facebook each day with the Gross National Happiness Index. The index tracks the number of positive and negative words in status updates.”

First of all, who gets to decide if a word is labeled positive or negative? Someone, for example, may use the words such as ‘kill’, ‘bad’, or ‘wicked’, as slang words meaning something good. Although the “Facebook analyzers” would probably make these words negative, again producing fake results. Second, who cares that America just hit their happiness peak on Thanksgiving Day—with Mother’s Day a close second? And if the Facebook world just so happened to be depressed, what are these organizations going to do about it? Send a smiley face to all 500 million users? Yeah, because that would help.

Why would the world be willing to give up their privacy just to form skewed and unimportant statistics? Yes, Facebook holds new and different information for those who want to analyze it. But before everyone’s privacy is demolished, there needs to be better reasons for doing so.

The author's comments:
I read an article about how Facebook data should be open to the public to the data, sumarized the article, and then shared my oppinion on the piece.

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