Last week, CDT Senior Resident Fellow and consumer privacy expert Justin Brookman took readers' questions for Ask CDT: Social Media Privacy.
At the bottom of this post, Justin answers some of the questions via video; written answers for all of the questions are also provided below.
Question: How do you define social media? What do you consider to be trends in social media that privacy professionals should be cognizant of?
Justin Brookman: For me, "social" means the ability for users to interact with other people — both real life friends and other computer users they’ve never met before and never will. When you think about it, this is how the Internet started out — a few isolated folks talking back and forth, and then eventually USENET message boards on a wide range of disparate topics. This was all social. In the 90s, companies began to publish on the web, and eventually came to monopolize it. For a while, the web became fairly passive, more like reading a newspaper.
But with the success of first MySpace, and then Facebook and Twitter, all Internet companies are looking to incorporate social aspects to their sites. Social sharing is a wonderful thing and has made the web a more democratic, open, and interesting place. But it also carries privacy risks, and an opportunity for consumers to share more information about themselves than they want to or even understand.
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