internet piracy

Social media has changed the internet in more ways than one thinks. It has changed the way people communicate, the way people find and share information, the way people shop, and even the way people live.  It would be easy to chalk up social media as just a passing trend but with popular websites like Facebook embedded in our day-to-day lives, it’s hard to deny the significance it play in modern society.

It appears that everyone we know is on Facebook, and every company/website has at least one page on Facebook. If you’re not on Facebook, you’ll see constant reminders on most websites that feature links to their Facebook page, or want you to share their information on the website.  Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild is big business.  And it’s not just the likes of Facebook that are generating attention; Twitter, Tumblr, and Pintrest are just a few other social media websites that while they may not enjoy the same popularity status as Facebook, still garner their fare share of fame and money.

The only real problem with social media today is its privacy policy. While most social media websites were designed for people to share their lives and valuable information with other people they know, it’s also a great way to share too much information, which in the end can backfire on others.

It was just mere months ago, that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) announced that minors could sign up and access Facebook with their parents permission. Although this idea was nothing new, in fact many parents decided to help their kids sign up for the service when it was against the rules, many more parents were angry about the idea, and for a good reason. Young kids and teens don’t understand the importance of internet safety and the consequences that comes with posting personal information on the internet.

As Eric Yaverbaum said in a recent article in Huffington Post, everything you post on Facebook and other similar websites is public. If you’re not comfortable with other people reading your information or viewing your pictures, then it doesn’t belong online. This revelation came after discussing a transparency report by Twitter. According to the report, Twitter was asked about information from 2011 in regards to  948 accounts for which they gave out information about 679 of them.  Unfortunately, Twitter was only complaint about seventy-five percent of the time.

Linkedin Corporation (NYSE:LNKD) is another popular social media website that specializes in career and business.  Unlike many other social networking websites, this site is primarily used for networking and careers, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely safe. Stan Schroeder from Mashable, wrote a story over a month ago about how Skycure Security made the discovery that LinkedIn’s iOS app sends detailed calendar entries to their servers. The personal information included subject, location, time of meeting, and notes taken at the meeting. Naturally, LinkedIn claimed that this was optional, and that the information is securely stored over SSL, nor do they share this sensitive information with other third party vendors. Furthermore, LinkedIn’s privacy policy clearly states that although they tailor advertising to your “wants and needs” as specified by your activities on the website (such as making recommendations or following a company), they do not share this information with third parties.  Like Facebook, they sometimes use your profile name and photo for social ads but users can opt out if they want.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is another large company that has questionable privacy practices, despite the fact it’s not really considered a social network. The Apple ID is a screen name and password that lets users purchase, download, and review iOS applications. It’s also used for ordering from the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) website, as well as participating on the help boards. Their official privacy policy states that the information is collected to ensure that they can alert their customers of new products, services, and promotions. Furthermore, the personal information that’s collected from users is sometimes used for internal company purposes like auditing, research, or data analysis. Apple also mentions that they sometime disclose information when it’s beneficial to the consumer, more specifically like when Apple shares information with a cell phone carrier.  And if that’s not enough, most iOS apps come with their own additional privacy policy.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is one of the largest internet/technology companies in the world. They own many popular websites in addition to their search engine including Gmail, YouTube, Google+, Blogger, AdWords, etc. They’ve been in hot water over bypassing the privacy of Apple users. Just mere days ago, it was reported that Google was nearing a deal that will force them to cough up $22.5 million to the FTC.  It was reported that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) utilized a special tracking code to trick Apple Safari browsers into letting them monitor users who blocked trafficking.

Since Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) are two of the biggest tech companies with social media ties that dominate the tech industry, it kind of makes sense that the government would intervene when they think it’s necessary, especially if it involves business.  And government agencies are not the only ones concerned with social media’s impact on  business. Companies everywhere screen employee candidates and current employees by checking out their Facebook or Twitter profiles to find out if any personal information in their profile could have a negative impact on their company.

These instances show that it’s not hard to see just how deeply everyone’s lives have been influenced by social media websites.