Social Networking

September 17, 2010 • Volume 20, Issue 32
Are online social networks eroding privacy?
By Marcia Clemmitt


Facebook membership topped 500 million (Screenshot/CQ Press)
The number of people posting personal information on social networking sites is soaring. This summer Facebook membership topped 500 million and Twitter passed 140 million fans, including those pictured above. (Screenshot/CQ Press)

The number of people sharing personal information online and spending more time communicating via social networking sites is growing by quantum leaps. This summer Facebook membership soared over 500 million — a meteoric rise from its mere 1 million members in 2005. The “micro-blogging” social site Twitter — where posts must total 140 characters or fewer — recently passed the 140-million-member mark. The rising dominance of social media sites means that users' lives — both online and offline — will be increasingly more transparent, with full information about their doings available for everyone to see, including parents and bosses, according to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. For some, the new world of “radical transparency” will increase human understanding and encourage honesty and accountability. But some lawmakers and scholars concerned about losing older notions of privacy warn that more should be done to help individuals control how much of their personal data is publicly accessible.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 09, 2018  Privacy and the Internet
Dec. 04, 2015  Privacy and the Internet
Oct. 25, 2013  Big Data and Privacy
Aug. 30, 2013  Government Surveillance
Jan. 25, 2013  Social Media Explosion
Sep. 17, 2010  Social Networking
Nov. 06, 2009  Online Privacy Updated
Nov. 17, 2006  Privacy in Peril
Jun. 15, 2001  Privacy Under Attack
Nov. 06, 1998  Internet Privacy
Nov. 19, 1993  Privacy in the Workplace
Apr. 17, 1992  Politicians and Privacy
Jan. 20, 1989  Your Right to Privacy
Mar. 21, 1986  Privacy in the Workplace
Oct. 18, 1974  Rights to Privacy
Apr. 05, 1967  Wiretapping and Bugging
Apr. 20, 1966  Protection of Privacy
Nov. 09, 1961  Wiretapping in Law Enforcement
Feb. 29, 1956  Surveillance of Spying
Jan. 25, 1956  Eavesdropping Controls
Mar. 14, 1949  Wire Tapping
Internet and Social Media