Recent social media news is of the bad-- or even dangerous-- sort, generally highlighting the fact that we have little-to-no guarantee of any privacy online, especially when assessing social networks. Although social media sites state that we, as users, will be protected, evidence proves this to be far from the truth.
Last week, the self-proclaimed "third largest" social media network, Tagged, was named in a lawsuit filed by New York's Attorney General, Mario Cuomo. The suit alleges that Tagged invaded the privacy of 60 million of its own users, stole names from their address books, and then sent out spam to those addresses, stating that they were tagged in pictures on the site. When the email's recipients signed in, there were no pictures, and their address books were compromised. On general principle alone, Tagged should be shut down, no questions asked. After all, there is simply no defense for its actions. I mean, what are the Tagged folks going to say? "We didn't have enough users so we thought it might be wise to try to gather some illegally," is most likely not going to work in court.
And then there's Twitter, everyone's favorite micro-blogging site. TechCrunch detailed the Twitter-hack extremely well and, honestly, it's a picture-perfect example of the lack of safety online. The hacker, aka "Hacker Croll," did not seek to hurt Twitter or its users, but rather hacked the site out of curiosity and the challenge of doing it. He didn't steal any information on the users, but instead on the site's owners, their plans for growth, and 310 secret documents that were conveniently sent to TechCrunch. Croll also was able to gain access to Twitter CEO Evan Williams' Facebook account. If Twitter can't protect its CEO, there is little chance that it can do anything for you.
Additionally, Facebook has been called into question in Canada for storing information after accounts are closed or abandoned, a violation of Canadian privacy laws.
Canada's privacy watchdog says Internet phenomenon Facebook breaches the law by keeping users' personal information indefinitely — even after members close their accounts.
Three sites, three major incidents. One week. And to think that last week I was extolling the virtues of social media and that it was "changing the world" and redefining media.
This week I feel... threatened.