Facebook versus Facetook?
A global question of whether humanity is at an era of interconnectivity, or privacy intrusion.
- Column A: Privacy
- Column B: Facebook
- Column C: “Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Bold Plan For The Future Of Facebook”
The 21st century is a thriving age of constant innovation and connectivity within an international scale. Not only are we — the population, an effective consumer of this culture, we are also participants to the larger network no matter where we are. Aside from just surfing the web, social media platforms alike Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Messenger, inevitably surrounds us everyday. Yet, a number of people are unaware of the privacy risks in using/putting themselves on the web. Has society blurred the lines between interconnectivity and privacy intrusion?
Picture yourself sitting at your favorite seat in the nearby retro coffee shop. You have never downloaded the recently trending app — Instagram (note that Instagram is owned under Facebook, their parent company), but you want to give it a try because everyone in your social circles are persuading you to do so. After installing the application through Apple’s App Store, Instagram asks for your Facebook account details to allow automatic posting on your Facebook profile. You connect the accounts quickly as your log-in credentials are already filled in, and then you proceed to snap an artistic shot of your cappuccino. After editing the filters, you decorate your post with hashtags, emojis and a fancy caption. Within seconds of posting, you have already gained 10 likes, each like from someone you have never heard, seen or met before. Unknowingly, your picture is also posted on your Facebook, where a friend of your friend has commented already.
Throughout the process of uploading a single photo, one could be exposed to a multitude of connected people. By using a hashtag, adding a location, allowing Facebook to upload images onto your profile, individuals nearby are able to discover your exact location, when you were there and even your coffee order within a short time span. As Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg says “a billion and a half people using the main, core Facebook service, 900 million people use WhatsApp, four hundred million people use Instagram, 700 million people use Messenger, and 700 million people use Groups”, have access to your personal content online.
Our civilization consistently undermines the severity of circulating these types of private material online and for essentially, the whole wide world to view. Prior to the release of digital devices, an analogue system of isolated networks was in place, meaning content was protected and observed if permitted. Applications such as Facebook are now publicizing our daily routines and without the owner’s attention, posting without their knowledge and sharing them within multiple communities. This was exactly the case with “The Story of Richard Prince and his $100,000 Instagram art”, in which the renowned artist appropriated screenshots of Instagram images from his feed, with the only slight alteration of a comment under each image. Despite the overwhelming copyright, authenticity and confidentiality issues the New Portraits exhibit had outlined, Prince avoided violating copyright laws under the “fair use” context of considering the screenshots as new art. Perhaps this may be an extremist example to use in my arguments, however, it speaks to the gravity of the situation and the need for this to be brought into our contemporary awareness.
To intensify the situation (or in a sense, make matters worse), Zuckerberg has recently unveiled plans to progress towards three new technological developments: “One is developing advanced artificial intelligence that can help Facebook understand what matters to users. The second is virtual reality, in the form of Oculus VR…which Zuckerberg believes will be the next major technology we use to interact with each other. And the third is bringing the Internet, including Facebook, of course, to the 4 billion–plus humans who aren’t yet connected, even if it requires flying a drone over a village and beaming data down via laser.” The introduction of drone technology and artificial intelligence is an enormous and dramatic step towards making civilization ‘better connected’ through one singular network. Although having unlimited and free bandwidth data does have its perks of connectivity worldwide, this would mean that more and more people would be subjected to eliminating privacy protection and operating under the popular phrase “what happens on the internet stays on the internet”.
If privacy is disrupted so conveniently, who is to say that cases like Richard Prince would not occur again? How are we safe from posting easily online?