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Acknowledgement I would first like to thank my mum who this dissertation is dedicated to; she was very patient with me and supported me the whole way through this period. I would also like to thank my dissertation tutor Paul Maxfield, for his guidance, my boyfriend Marcus for always giving me inspiration, my dad, my sister Livvy and all my friends.


Abstract Digital advertising is forecasted to rise, whilst SNS are saturating the young generation. Since the rise of Web 2.01 and the arrival of SNS such as Facebook, these sites have become central to e-commerce. Users are only just becoming familiar with what can happen when socializing and corporate controlled spaces are combined. This research assesses the user attitudes and awareness towards their personal information, along with their willingness to share this information on social networking site, Facebook. This was used to correlate with the corporations view on how they can use these platforms to their advantages. Therefore, the complicit relationship between the user and corporation can be analysed. The research was conducted using an online questionnaire of Facebook users, which, was triangulated, with the findings of a focus group with users and an interview with industry professionals and corporations. Research found that user attitudes expressed concern for their privacy and were generally sceptical towards how corporations may use their personal information, due to their own experiences and a backlash portrayed through the media. However, users still owned a Facebook account and members were increasing, suggesting that users are both cooperative and resistive. Other findings were that users were not aware about how their personal information is used by the corporations, or did they have enough tools to control their information. Amongst industry professionals, a key viewpoint was that privacy came down to users having choice, transparency and tools (Pointer, 2010). A key finding for the future would be raising awareness through a campaign, issued by the government.

1 Web 2.0 includes social and interactive media on the Internet.


Table of Contents Acknowledgements Abstract Table of Contents 1.0

Introduction

1.1

Rationale

1.2

Aims and Objectives

2.0 Setting the Scene 2.1 Introduction 2.2 Web 2.0 2.2.1 Social Networking Sector 2.3 Why Facebook? 2.3.1 What people use Facebook for 2.3.2 What are the advantages of Facebook as a communications Platform 2.3.3 Can Technology Be Good for Human Rights? 2.4 The Corporations 2.4.1 Corporate Interests on Facebook 2.4.2 The Backlash 2.5 The User 2.5.1 The Cost of Free 2.5.2 The Audience Commodity Theory 2.5.3 Audience Attitudes and Awareness towards Advertising 2.6 Privacy

3.0 Social Networking Trends 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Digital Advertising 3.2.1 Behavioural Advertising 3.3 Facebook and Facebook Ads


3.3.1 3.3.2 3.3.3 3.3.4 3.3.5

Social Graph Facebook Policies The Profile Facebook Ads Facebook Vs Google Buzz

3.6 The Future of Social Networking Sites 3.7 Introduction 3.8 Smart Phones 3.8.1 Aka-aki

4.0 Methodology 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Research Philosophy 4.3 Case Study Design 4.4 Sampling Method and Ethical Issues In Research 4.4.1 The User 4.4.2 The Corporations 4.5 Data Collecting 4.5.1 Questionnaire Survey 4.5.2 Focus Group Interview 4.5.3 Audio-taped Interview of Panel Speakers at Amnesty International 4.6 Analysing the Data 4.6.1 Quantitative Data from the Questionnaire Survey

5.0 Results 5.1 Introduction

5.2 Characteristics on Facebook 5.2.1 Respondents Gender 5.2.2 Age Range 5.3 User Awareness towards their Personal Information and Privacy on Facebook 5.4 Users awareness and Perceptions Towards Advertising on Facebook


5.5 User Attitudes of Social Networks in the Future

6.0 Discussion of Results 6.1 Introduction 6.1.1 validity of Research Findings 6.2 User Preferences towards Social Networking Sites 6.2.1 Facebook will Remain Social Network Leader 6.3 User Attitudes towards their Information and Privacy 6.3.1 Know your Rights 6.3.2 I’m Filtering you out of my Life 6.3.3 The Facebook Fight 6.5 User Attitudes and Awareness Towards Advertising on Facebook 6.6 Users Attitudes and Behaviour 6.6.1 Resistance and Cooperation 6.7 How to make the User Aware and Prevent their Privacy being Exploited 6.8 User Perceptions of Social Networking in the Future

7.0 Conclusion and Recommendations References Appendices


Chapter I “Personal data is the new oil of the Internet and the new currency of the digital world.� Meglena Kuneva, EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner (2009)

Introduction


1.1 Introduction With the ever-expanding force of technology, particularly in regards to the Internet, theories towards information and communication are changing. Technology such as the Internet and mobile phone have changed the speed, staging and mode of communication considerably, prompting many theorists to take a different stance on concepts of subjectivity and surveillance within the community (Pinuelas, n.d.). The digital revolution has made the Internet increasingly panoptic 2, in regards to the corporations who benefit from monitoring the potential consumer. This occurs through data mining software, which gathers information about users based on their behavior or personal information, and tailors adverts to their personal needs and wants. Data is the key revenue generator to many companies on the web such as Google and Facebook, who rely on the user to give information in order for them to make revenue (Ahmed 2010; Broomhall, 2010). Parallel to the traditional forms of surveillance, there is a new voyeurism, which occurs on the Internet. In most cases Internet surveillance is commerce, however another one to consider, especially on social networking sites (SNS) is peer-to peer surveillance (Zimmer, 2006). Michael Foucault believed for surveillance to function it requires “an element of participation on part of the subject.” (Foucault 1977, P.195). Therefore, another interesting aspect to explore in this dissertation is the phenomenon of ‘participatory culture’. There is a compliance that is required of the surveilled subjects as corporations and marketers are dependant on users providing the relevant information (Ball, 2009). Paradoxically, users have become complicit to this ‘trade-off’, where incentives allow corporations to wrongly obtain personal data from users by acting as the ‘voyeur’.

This study will also examine the power shift between the user-voyeur relationship. Michael De Certeau’s (1984) theory of ‘the every day’ will be used as a critique to analyse this manipulation in power relationships; and to investigate this fight between these two monoliths in regards to how much personal data the user will give away on the corporations terms (Rowan, BBC Productions, 2010).

2 Taking in or showing everything in a single view. Derived from Michael Foucault’s theory of the ‘Panopticon’.


The argument here is that the SNS product is great, effortless, and proved to be an incredibly useful tool. Users will happily cede a bit of their privacy to use it. However, the recent changes to Facebook privacy policies has proven they will not cede as much privacy as the corporations want, which is why users have changed their privacy settings on an increasingly open platform. (Ahmed, 2010) Whilst E-commerce is often addressed in previous studies regarding SNS (Bagozzi and Dholakia 2002, DeKay 2009, Gangadharbatla 2008), user awareness towards privacy and control of data is inexplicitly linked. Little academic research has addressed the issue of convincing users to be more receptive in social networking communities. Therefore to gain perspectives to both these areas of research, the dissertation will use social and advertising literature as a critique, establishing how aware the user is of corporate and peer surveillance on SNS.

1.2 Rationale “There is a silent revolution going on, which is how we have become complicit in a deal that is shaping our world.” BBC Productions, 2010 Digital advertising is forecasted to rise, whilst SNS are saturating the young generation. Since the rise of Web 2.0 3 and the arrival of SNS such as Facebook, these sites have become central to e-commerce. McStay (2009) states that the introduction of new media technologies has created a backlash expressing concern towards themes of manipulation, distraction and addiction. This research topic was chosen due to a personal interest in surveillance and the power relationships between the subject and voyeur. By integrating this with the modern phenomenon Facebook, an interesting insight to the future society of digital interaction can be explored, as predicted by George Orwell in his book Nineteen Eighty Four (Orwell, 1949). “There are a lot of social critics who say this is exactly how you would evolve into a fascist state, or a social state, or a dictatorship; which is if you’re invited in, you ignore the consequences and all of a sudden it’s

3 Web 2.0 includes social and interactive media on the Internet.


George Orwell’s 1984… and I think there’s some merit in that.” John Batelle, BBC Productions (2010) A common association made with the idea of electronic surveillance is derived from George Orwell’s, Nineteen Eighty Four. The book was published in 1949, and was an important study of the time in regards to the recognition of surveillance to the public. However, today it shares a different meaning. ‘The book of the twentieth century…haunts us with an ever-darker relevance’ (Orwell, 1984). It is a literary portrayal of a believable yet dystopian future where the public are controlled through surveillance, specifically electronic surveillance. Some of these predictions, with the advances in new technologies and media are becoming more apparent. Orwell (1949) touches on ideas such as manipulation and conformation through these electronic devices. At the time of 1949 when this book was published, Orwell would have had a vague idea of electronic media as he writes of ‘The Thought Police’ and the infamous tele-screens where ‘Big Brother’ would be observing and monitoring the publics every move to the diversity and extent to how advanced technology is today. Nineteen Eighty Four was a message about the power of technologies and how they are used to control, leading toward a lack of privacy and a ‘transparent society’ (Lyon, 1994). An Orwellian future may seem dubious but there is so much data of citizens stored on the web by companies, who are still trying to figure out what to do with it and where it is leading (Boyd, 2010). The issue here is that society is complicit in a silent revolution unaware of how they use their information online and it is not so much who owns it, but who might own it in the future.

To take this point further, the Information Commissioner by the Surveillance Studies Network made a report which predicted that “By 2016 shoppers could be scanned as they enter stores, schools could bring in cards allowing parents to monitor what their children eat, and jobs may be refused to applicants who are see as a health risk.” (Ball et al, 2006)


1.3 Aims and Objectives Aim: The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the extent of surveillance on SNS, such as Facebook. This will be conducted by investigating the awareness of the user with regards to their personal data and privacy, in conjunction with the effects of digital advertising by corporations who collect this information. Objectives: •

To measure the users’ awareness and attitudes of the use of their personal data and privacy on SNS.

To establish a relationship between the organisations needs and the willingness of the consumer in giving up their personal information. For example, the types of behavioural techniques utilized by organisations and the awareness of the consumer to how these are implemented.

To question the uses of surveillance techniques by particular organisations and question the users’ privacy rights from an ethical point of view.

To discuss how users / consumers can be both co-operative and resistive when using SNS


Chapter II Setting the Scene


2.1 Introduction This chapter establishes SNS in relation to the Internet, outlining it origins on Web 2.0 and the SNS sector. More specifically, establishing the user versus corporation experience, such as why users use these sites and how corporations generate their revenues.

2.2 Web 2.0 2.2.1 Web 2.0 and Participatory Culture Web 2.0 defines, second-generation web technologies such as social and interactive media. The content includes blogs, SNS and wikis where user is actively involved through networking

and

online

collaboration,

this

can

also

be

known

as

‘participatory

culture’ (Jenkins et al 2005). Some of the advantages of Web 2.0 include more room for creativity, with users being able to create their own online content; also known as ‘user generated content’ (UGC). UGC also includes; blogs or podcasts, personal information which is uploaded through posts or comments on SNS and the sharing of pictures, films or music. Examples of these can range from MySpace and music to Google’s You Tube and videos. In addition to these advantages, Web 2.0 enables people to interact and connect quickly, efficiently, with no fee, and allows access to newer technologies (IT Governance, 2009). Daugherty et al. (2008) states there are motivational factors, which drive UGC, this includes wishing to experience a sense of community, to minimize self-doubts through a sense of belonging and the possibility of reducing guilty feelings about not contributing. Web 2.0 has opened up many gateways to the world of communication; however, it can be more controversial when marketers use it as a tool to manipulate the advertising market. (McStay, 2009)


2.2.2 Social Networking Sites Sector Boyd and Ellison (2007) defined “social networking in three parts: -

To construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system

-

To articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection,

-

To view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site.”

Sixdegrees.com was the first SNS to encompass all of these features in 1997; however, this did not catch on, lasting only 4 years. The website owner, Andrew Weinreich believed it was ‘simply ahead of its time’. In the 1990s the Internet had its dot-com boom and was rapidly growing especially round this period of 1997, therefore users were less inclined and more sceptical to the giving away of information (Rowan, 2010). Whilst users took no interest to Sixdegrees.com, another site was introduced that was ‘trust based’ called Epinions.com where users have more control over content and connectivity (Boyd & Ellison 2007). Since 2007 there has been a rapid growth of SNS, with market leader, Facebook, increasing its users by 712% between January 2007 and January 2008 (Nielsen Online, 2009). Facebook users are still increasing, having doubled since the summer of 2009 to 400 million active users at the beginning of 2010, half of these log in on any given day (Facebook, 2010); they share five billion pieces of content a week and upload more than three billion photos each month. On average, they spend more than 55 minutes a day on Facebook (Rowan, 2010). Other major SNS players include, Bebo, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn and Friends Reunited (Mintel, 2010). The user population of these SNS will be analysed later in this chapter.

2.3 Why Facebook? 2.3.1 What People Use Facebook For “Facebook is well positioned because when all your friends are on Facebook, it makes no sense to go elsewhere.” (Rowan 2010)


Launching a year after Myspace, (Mintel, 2009) Facebook boasted its simple interface, and ‘spam prevention’ was a key persuasive factor against rival Myspace, currently inundated with bands/musicians spamming. Facebook is the market leader due to it being the most innovative by improving the sites features more quickly and opening up to third-party application developers. According to Mintel the majority of users visit the site to socialise (66%) and fewer to play games (20%) or listen to music and watch videos (10%) (Mintel, 2009). It is the games, music and videos, which work as channels to drive the brands through Facebook. Users are more likely to interact with one another, rather than the brands. Therefore, user tracking and targeting through users’ personal information has made it an easier option to target the adverts towards a specific target audience. The following graph outlines the way in which users use social media by outlining activities that take place on social networks, such as, organising social goings-on through ‘groups’ and events (Mintel 2009).


Figure 1: Use of Social Networking Sites in September 2009 (Mintel, 2009)


The graph shows the types of interests on Facebook can help draw conclusions on and what the advantages are before these are weighed against the disadvantages (Mintel, 2009).

2.3.2 Advantages of Facebook as a communications Platform Web 2.0 and SNS are useful shorthand tools to organize, distribute and process the applications, services and protocols (McStay 2009). Marwick (2009) claims, “Facebook facilitates conversations, connections and invitations that are integral to both online and offline social life.” The main attraction to Facebook is the fast connection; users can connect or reconnect with friends, or family all over the world (Facebook, 2010). Nova Spivack (2007) highlights the benefits in her article entitled “The Rise of the Social Operating System” by outlining the key elements of what a social operating system should contain, all of which Facebook does: -

“Identity management (open portable identity, personal profiles, privacy control) Relationship management (directory and lookup services, social networking, spam control)

-

Communication (person to person, group, synchronous, asynchronous)

-

Social Content distribution (personal publishing, public content distribution)

-

Social Coordination (event management, calendaring)

-

Social Collaboration (file sharing, document collaboration etc)

-

Commerce (classified ads, auctions, shopping)”

2.3.3 Can Technology Be Good For Human Rights? “Communication technologies have been good for human rights since we created the alphabet.” (Sreberny, 2010) In recent years Facebook and Twitter have provided users with a platform to spread information, particularly when censorship exists. “In the last three years world events in China, Burma and Iran, have been broadcast on platforms such as Facebook. This has shown, both the potential of this technology to aid people in free expression and fighting for human


rights. For example, in Iran we have seen it used to get out all sorts of interesting material to document the opposition to resist attempt of censorship.” (Cellan-Jones, 2010). These examples show that technology can be used as a tool that can perhaps accelerate the speed of information and the number of people involved. (Sreberny, 2010)

2.4 The Corporations 2.4.1 Corporate Interests on Facebook The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) (2009) reported advertising revenues in the New Media sector at £3.5 billion. Mark Zuckerberg (the owner of Facebook) predicted a 70 per cent revenue growth for 2010 (Rowan, 2010). This indicates that SNS are becoming central to commerce. The rapid growth within social networking communities such as Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and now Twitter has caught the attention of advertisers, with the attraction of using new, digital forms of advertising to harness/target the users for their corporate advantages (Mc Stay, 2010; Twitter, 2010; Hart 2007). The president of Ominicom media group Damien Blackden believes it is ‘adapt- or- die’ for advertising agencies in the new digital landscape, where the media buying agencies that are investing in data capabilities (such as Facebook) are the ones keeping up with this ‘Darwinian’ advertising world (Sweeny 2009). These media agencies have an advantage, being one step ahead as their brands can use resources such as ‘Facebook Ads’ to reach their audience by measuring users’ habits online, then targeting them. (Mesure and Griggs, 2007) Facebook’s success is partly down to the opening up to third-party application developers 4 (Mintel, 2009). However SNS, such as Facebook are trying to combat the advantages of the sustainable advertising revenues whilst users are becoming more susceptible to the risks that members are exploited through the use of ‘Facebook Ads’ (Measure and Griggs, 2007). Therefore the growing industry has been under increasing public pressure to strike a balance between the need to generate advertising revenue and members' demand for uninterrupted social experiences (Nutley 2007).

4 Application developers are driven through games and applications on Facebook


2.4.2 The Backlash Users have started to come to terms with what can happen when socializing and corporate-controlled spaces are combined. Users do not always have control over how their information is used. (Connolly, 2009) Since the emergence of the ‘Facebook Ads’ in 2007, Facebook has been portrayed through the media as having a backlash from a $9.5 m law-suit on privacy gounds (Connolly, 2009). There was a further backlash due to a privacy uproar, when Facebook changed its terms of service in early 2009 giving them greater control over the UGC, however this was reverted quickly. According to Mintel (2008) previous user attitudes suggest most attitudes are sceptical (See Appendix A). These platforms allow marketers to trace and track the user by either targeting adverts to the users social interests or and creating consumer profiles by archiving this data. Consequently, some users quite rapidly realised the privacy threats. All of which, is dependent on the users participation of uploading content, such as status updates, tagging photos and writing on peoples’ walls (which are all methods of communication within Facebook). (Mesure and Griggs, 2007) “It was suddenly clear that Facebook was not just a social club but also an expanding force on the web, beholden to corporate interests” (Harvey, 2008; Heffernan year). Despite this, the growth of users on Facebook indicates there has not been a decline, with the utility still attracting new users. This suggests that users are either happy to cede this privacy for Facebook, are not concerned, or are not aware. However, it is Bebo and LinkedIn who have had the largest growth over a year of Sept 2008 - Sept 2009 (see Figure 2 below); according to comScore, Twitter’s total Internet audience growth was 41 times that of Facebook (Mintel, 2009).


Figure 2: Percentage Reach of Selected Networking Sites across the total Internet population, September 2008-2009

Sept 2008

Sept 2009

% Change

Total Internet Audience35, 980

41,763

Facebook

51.2

74.1

44.8

Bebo

n/a

20.3

n/a

MySpace

n/a

12.2

n/a

Twitter

0.5

9.0

1,852.5

LinkedIn

1.4

4.5

232.2

Friends Reunited

5.8

2.5

-57.0

Source: comScore/Mintel

2.5 The User 2.5.2 The Cost of Free There is a ‘trade off’ between the user and corporation, which occurs when users sign up to these sites that are ‘free’, but is this a price worth paying in regards to the user? There are many things that users can do online for free, and usually do in a big scale: • In a month users on a global level make about 76 billion searches on Google •

In a day users post up 3 million pictures / videos on Flickr

In a month 350 million browse through blogs

comScore (2009) However, when the tables are turned ‘free’ is an illusion. These companies all use behavioral advertising, or ‘cookies’ (BBC, Virtual Revolution). This will be further discussed in chapter 3, section 2.2.


2.5.1 Audience Commodity Theory “Audience power is produced, sold, purchased and consumed, it commands a price and is a commodity” (Curran 1981; McQuail, 1997). Utilizing audiences as a commodity has been developed since marketing industries have influenced culture production in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century this has evolved through media technologies (Turow, 2005). Smythe (1977) believed the audience commodity theory was the main commodity manufactured by media industries. Whilst more recent theorist Bermejo (2009) also agrees, he has revised this theory beyond the traditional media formats by extending it through new media, such as SNS. In this context, it is a barely known phenomenon and he believed that it is the creation of the audience through measurement that has transformed the Internet into a mass communication. Bermejo’s (2009) stance on it is to question not what the Internet audience does with the medium, but rather what the medium does with its audience. One of the most influential Tech-bloggers in the world, Michael Arrington believes that, “the days when people are not happy to broadcast their CV or personal life electronically are over. People always trade off privacy for removal of friction” (Harvey, 2008). This can be in conjunction to what Turow (2005, P.1) believes in that “contemporary audiences are frenetic, self-concerned, attention challenged, and willing to allow advertisers to track them in response to being rewarded or special.” Media companies are making revenue through selling audiences opposed to content, and this competition through new media is starting to influence the character of British mass media (Mc Stay, 2009). “The product online is not the content- the product online is you.” (Rushkoff, 2010) 2.6.4 Audience Attitudes and Awareness towards Advertising A 2008 report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that 43% of social network users never clicked on ads, a dramatic difference from the 80% of other Internet users who did so at least once a year. Furthermore, 23% of nonusers of online communities who clicked on an ad then made a purchase, whereas only 11% of social network users who clicked on ads did the same (eMarketer 2009). This suggests a link to the psychological principle of trust between users and corporations on SNS. Mc Stay (2010) believes that trust is key when it comes to the users participation in digital advertising. Mayer, Davis, and Schoorman (1995) perceive trust to be, “A willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the


other will perform a particular action important to the trustor, irrespective of the ability to monitor or control the other party”. Mehta (2007) believes this can be applied to the usercorporation relationship (Mehta 2007). Generally users feel vulnerable to corporations primarily because they are adapting to a new and unfamiliar digital landscape. Similarly, the backlash has eroded away at the users trust. With online marketers wanting more highly defined audiences, users are correct in being concerned about how their personal information is being used and who it is shared or sold to (Mc Stay, 2010).

2.6 Privacy Privacy is an ongoing issue, which is well-trodden ground in regards to SNS. 79% of the sample of respondents on a Truste survey (2008) agreed they are “nervous about websites having information on me.” Since SNS started, users have been sceptical to the openness of information. However, the newer generations who have grown up around the rise of technology, video cameras and the introduction of the Internet are more inclined to broadcast their information online. Nevertheless, a dislike of others knowing too much about one self appears to be an issue online, with limited profiles increasing and people being more particular over whom they accept as ‘friends’ (Harvey, 2008). There is a thin line when it comes to privacy issues and although users may be willing to yield some of their privacy for the benefits of SNS, the assumption made by these sites have that users are willing to give up large swathes of privacy online is unrealistic and unethical (Ahmed, 2010).


Figure 3: Attitudes towards social networking security by usage rates, March 2008

“As long as people are willing to take a stand on privacy issues then they can keep companies in check. However, this relies on those companies playing it straight about how data is kept and used, and there may already be issues at play in this area, which the public is not fully aware of.� (Broomhall, 2010) Industry professionals often state how the user is unaware of how their data is used and transparency is required in order to combat privacy issues (Broomhall, 2010: Sreberny, 2010)

2.7 Summary This chapter has set the scene by establishing the major influences of the user and corporations on SNS. New media and the Web 2.0 is becoming fully integrated into modern culture. Consequently, corporations will continue to make revenue as media companies sell users opposed to content. Research suggests that despite users on Facebook becoming more susceptible to the risks of them being exploited and the Facebook backlash, users are still continuing to rise. This


demonstrates that there is either a lack of awareness, or users are both co-operative and resistive. This stresses the need to strike a balance between the need to generate advertising revenue and the users uninterrupted social experience. The next chapter will discuss the current trends in social networking to further explore how corporations gain the data from the user. This will help get an understanding of why the users are concerned about their personal information and privacy.


Chapter III

Literature Review Current Social Networking Trends


3.1 Introduction This chapter reviews and analyses current trends within the SNS industry, in relation to user and the corporations. The main trends, which influence these, are the digital revolution and changes in advertising, technological advances, and the rules and regulations towards the users rights. These will be addressed through the impact of digital advertising and its influences such as the recession, social media and the surveillance techniques implied through emerging business models. An in depth analysis will be done on SNS Facebook and its advertising model, whilst its main rival Google will be touched upon.

3.2 Digital Advertising Online advertising is currently the fastest growing advertising medium. Growing at a rate of 21.8 per cent between 2007 and 2008 in the UK (IAB, 2009). Advertising spend on the Internet has increased dramatically and is now more than what is spent on TV advertising (Mc Stay, 2010) The dynamic shift in consumers and advertising since the recession has had an impact on advertising where new business models are being made, leaving some traditional agencies behind. These traditional agencies, such as those who specialize in TV, press and radio are losing out to media buying agencies (Sweeny, 2009). This is due to the lower budgets of the agencies and the low cost advertising online; there are also more televisual opportunities, which will replace television such as You Tube. (Mc Stay, 2010) There is a massive appeal to digital advertising due to the use of two forms of digital advertising; viral advertising and ‘behaviour advertising’. behaviour advertising.

This study will address


3.2.2 Behavioral Advertising Behaviour advertising can be broken down into two types; ‘cookies enabled’ and ‘Deeppacket inspection’. Companies such as Facebook, Google Ads, Tacoda and double-click track users by what they click on, and in return offering relevant advertising to that user (Baker, 2010 ; Mc Stay, 2010). This is not necessarily related to the page being viewed, this is known as contextual advertising. (Mc Stay, 2010) ‘Cookies’ and ‘Deep-packet inspection’ when used to monitor users can be know as ‘spyware’ or ‘web-bugs’ and the software used to collect this information is known as ‘data mining software.’ (Ghostery, 2010) This type of advertising can be used within SNS, such as Facebook so that adverts are targeted to the user through specific demographics and physcographic data, which have been gathered from the users, profile information and collected through the ‘social graph’5 . Statistical analysis allows these corporations to create a consumer profile 6, for example:

Commonalities

Variances

Repetition

Patterns

Associations

Relationships

(Mc Stay, 2010) 3.3.3 Peer-to-peer surveillance ‘Peer’ not just meaning ‘friends’ but a boss, a co-worker, family or ex- partner. Any ‘friends’ on users Facebook list can “pinpoint the location of others through applications that are designed to imprint the date, time and location in which photographs, conversations and videos are made, and mobile tracking devices.” (Zimmer, 2006) This new type of voyeurism is now quite common and is used for security purposes, and sometimes for fun. (Christensen, 2009) 5

The social graph can be seen as a map which makes up any social connections between users.

6 A consumer profile is the characteristics of an individual that are archived or indexed, traced through what consumers click on and what pages they have visited and so on.


For example, there are numerous amounts of employees who are sacked by posting the wrong thing on Facebook (Moult, 2009). In addition, even though it is illegal for UK employers to ask a potential employee for their race and age, this kind of information is usually found on SNS (Marwick, 2009). A recent study published in the Cyber Psychology and Behavior Journal (2009), states that increased Facebook use significantly predicts Facebook- related jealousy in romantic relationships. The sample was made up of 308 college students and the results showed that there is a “significant association between time spent on Facebook and jealousy-related feelings and behaviors experienced on Facebook.� (Parr, 2009)


3.4 Facebook and Facebook Ads As users use Facebook as a platform to present their ideal egos, images and generally information of themselves, Facebook sells advertising space and highly targeted advertising programmes (Facebook, 2010). 3.4.1 Social Graph

Figure 4: Social Graph of author’s Facebook, (Facebook, 2010) The social graph can be seen as a map, which makes up any social connections between users (Iskold, 2009). These connections exist whenever people communicate and share information, for example, on Facebook this includes photos, events and groups. Personal information entered into the profile of the user is not the only valuable data to corporations, it also includes users close network of friends, disclosing even deeper personal details. These connections can give corporations a good idea of a user, even when privacy filters are used. (Zimmer, 2006)


“...Even with a private profile it's impossible to retain complete control over personal information within a detailed, publicly available network.” (Zimmer, 2006)

3.4.2 Facebook Policies Facebook has experienced problems with users, due to changes of their polices and terms of use, leaving default privacy settings up to the users to ‘opt-out’ 7 (Popken, 2009). This is due to not informing users before hand, or making them noticeable or understandable once the changes are in place. Popken (2009) criticises Facebook's privacy policies, for being difficult to understand. “Facebook's previous Terms of Service (2008) included highly technical legal language and even Latin. This needs to be changed. I'm not sure what ‘forum non conveniens’ means and I shouldn't have to.” The updated terms of use, state that the user must acknowledge that “even after removal, copies of User Content may remain viewable in cached and archived pages or if other Users have copied or stored your User Content”. (Facebook, 2010) In addition, the current terms include the clause: “Removed information may persist in backup

copies

for

a

reasonable

period

of

time

but

will

not

be

available

to

others.” (Facebook, 2010)

These polices have proven to be indecisive and raises the question of who owns the user generated content loaded onto these sites and what is happening to all this information? 3.4.3 The Profile The Facebook Profile is the face of the user on the website (See Appendix C). The information of the user is which is automatically displayed by default will consist of the user name, gender, birth-date and photo albums, religious belief, phone number, email address, relationship status etc. In addition, there are other features, which can also be shown dependant on the users choice of information provided; this also depends on the use of ‘privacy filters’. (Facebook, 2010) 7 The term opt-out is a policy where a user receives electronic communications—usually on the basis of a prior relationship—without providing express permission. The user can avoid receiving unsolicited product or service information but only by ‘opting- out’. This ability is usually associated with direct marketing.


3.4.4 Facebook Ads When ‘Facebook Ads’ were introduced in late 2007 they were pitched to marketers as various forms of advertising programmes to target the exact audiences they wanted (Johnson, 2009). Founder Mark Zuckerberg pitched to more than 250 marketing advertising executives in New York: “Facebook Ads represent a completely new way of advertising online… For the last hundred years media has been pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be a part of the conversation. And they’re going to do this by using the social graph in the same way our users do.” (Facebook, 2007) Facebook Ads has become a ‘social platform’, which is used as a database for digital advertising. It has an advantage over other companies or some forms of digital advertising because of its viral8 distribution that the News Feed (See Appendix B) provides and its vast access to consumer information (Mc Stay, 2010). Some examples:

Facebook Ads are publicly available and accessible for indexing by search engines.

Any business or organisation can use Facebook Ads

A user can browse groups and applications for organisations of interest

Users can become a ‘fan’ of a page

Facebook pages are free

Facebook Ads breaks down into 4 kinds of applications: 1. ‘Social Ads’ target the audience through ‘Behavioural advertising’. This type of advertising when taken place on Facebook means the adverts are targeted to the user through specific demographics and psychographic data, which are entered in your profile information and also through tracking. (Facebook, 2010) 2. Beacon is no longer operating, due to it being too controversial. However, it is a good example of the extent Facebook will go to, to exploit the user for revenue, therefore relevant to the study. Beacon is where businesses could link their sites by socially 8 Viral advertising works in a word-of -mouth fashion when information is passed from person to person (user to user). This form of advertising, which occurs on Facebook, is through the distribution of user interaction with brands, which is posted on the ‘News Feed’.


distributing to Facebook where data was sent from external websites to Facebook. The advantages to marketers: (Facebook, 2010)

Business does not need a Facebook page.

Specific information can be shared through mini- feed on the users wall (See Appendix D) and News Feed (See Appendix B) direct from the site to Facebook.

News Feed shows stories to the businesses about the actions that user’s friends are taking on participating on external sites and to tell their friends, such as buying a product.

This application had proven to be effective as big brands such as eBay and Blockbuster use it.

3. Pages are “word of mouth” marketing online, where users can add themselves as a ‘fan’ by writing on the wall, adding pictures or joining in discussion groups therefore becoming more deeply connected with the brand. (Facebook, 2010) 4. Insights is a response to using Facebook Ads, for businesses to gain valuable data. This will provide: •

Meaningful statistics and valuable metrics mean corporations can access data on activity, fan demographics, ad performance, and trends.

Therefore, businesses are at an advantage as they can better their content and adjust whom their adverts are targeted to through the ‘Social Ads’.

Corporations can tell exactly who is engaging with your data as the database gives businesses access to authentic demographic information. For example, the viral distribution and ‘click through rates’ which is the amount of users who have clicked on the advert. Users can also be targeted through specific ‘key words’.

(Facebook, 2010)


Figure 5: Facebook’s Behavioural Advertising Model; The Social Graph and Profile Information

Source: Authors own The various forms of advertising available on Facebook has been outlined, therefore the use of these will now be critically analysed: Social Ads and Insights both use behavioural advertising, by measuring the behaviour of the users to create a ‘consumer profile’ (Facebook, 2010). In addition, corporations use peoples profile information as part of a database, by mapping people’s real-world social connections through the ‘social graph’ (Facebook, 2010). All this information then tailors personal adverts to the user that they can see on the side of the Facebook page (See Appendix D). This process of behavioural advertising on Facebook is outlined in Figure 5. Pages works a viral distribution on the users news feed, is promoting the brand on part of the user. Updates can be sent regularly, allowing Facebook users to have their names and profile photos displayed alongside the marketer's ads on their friends' Facebook pages (Mc


Carthy, 2009). This is effective as Cheong and Morisson (2008) state that consumers are more trusting in information about products, which is produced by other users. Beacon for example, is one reason why Facebook users decided against using the utility. It is no longer operating since Facebook lost a $9.5m class-action lawsuit but it a good example, to show the extent companies like Facebook will go to, to exploit the users information for revenue. This service on several occasions had exploited users information by leaking it onto Facebook from users participating on external websites! This was made possible through the tracking through ‘Cookies’ (Marwick, 2009). One example, “One plaintiff's Christmas present to his wife, a ring bought on Overstock.com, was unexpectedly

revealed

to

his

network,

ruining

the

surprise.

He

received

$15,000” (Johnson, 2009).

3.5 Facebook Vs Google Buzz Google launched its new social networking service Google Buzz in early 2010, intending to rival to its main competitor, Facebook. (Ahmed and Evans, 2010) Lead Internet corporations Google and Facebook, are dangerously merciless enemies. Perhaps this is the case due to their significance of key revenue generator being advertising. Since the emergence of Google Buzz’s similar Facebook–style site a war between Internets biggest search engine and biggest social networking site began. However, just days after its launch Google made a public apology, for the extent of which it breached users privacy. The Google Buzz profile was automatically created through any existing account holder of the Google Gmail email system. This meant that email contacts could view personal messages, photos and videos automatically without any consent of the user (See appendix F for a diagram of how users information is made into profile on Google Buzz and Facebook). This has added fuel to the burgeoning privacy issues that already surrounded Facebook and has created a further backlash to both these corporations (Ahmed and Evans, 2010). Critics believe Buzz was set up to target Facebook, in attempt to win over users to use Google in the future to navigate around the web. It is a battle between revenues, which Google is loosing out on due to users using Facebook primarily to surf the web. It’s Facebook’s fast-growing dominance of the “social” Internet, which threatens its rival’s entire business model (Ahmed; Broomhall, 2010).


3.6 The Future of Social Networking Sites 3.7 Introduction “Those who access it (SNS) via their mobile devices are “twice as active”” David Rowan, Editor of Wireless Magazine (Rowan, 2010b) In 2009, whilst more people were logging onto SNS sites than ever before, few were via their mobiles (10%), however Mintel (2009) states that ownership of smart phones will set off a trend.

4.2 Smart Phones Already 16 million Britons access the Internet through their phones, with five million doing so to visit Facebook. The start of this revolution began at the beginning of 2010, when 3G mobile penetration started to rise in Europe from 17% in 2007 to 29% in 2009. This is forecasted to continue to rise at a predicted 67 % by 2011 (Rowan, 2010b). These figures are similar to where Japan was around a decade ago. Europe can take its lesson from Japan where mobile Internet usage is 91% and is also a consumer goldmine. The people of Japan are reluctant to pay for content for the desktop Internet but not on the phone. $43 billion was the estimate for the revenue made from the mobile Internet in Japan, 2008. (Rowan, 2010b) However, the UK is making progress. The Facebook application is now available direct from the desktop of all smart phones and they have a new feature named ‘lifecasting’ which is currently being launched, this feature is a ‘social location application’. This form of locative media locates the users destination and embeds this in their post, providing even more information opportunities for companies.


4.2.2 Aka-aki Introduction of new mobile social networking media ‘aka-aki’ has led to new marketing opportunities in the world of digital media. This is a new invention, which is a locationbased service, which demonstrates some innovative forms of new media such as ‘locative media’9 (Mc Stay, 2010)

Facebook's ‘lifecasting’ system only touches on Aka-aki’s innovative platform, which also integrates this, but with an array of other features through locative media:

“Phones know where they are, thanks to in-built GPS satellite technology or triangulation from mobile phone masts. They can then tell if other phones are in the same area. Bluetooth short-range radio technology is also standard on most mobiles and with this phones can pick up the presence of other Bluetooth-enabled phones within about 20 meters.” (Harvey, 2008)

It is the integration of these two features; Bluetooth10 and GPS 11 technology, which has made aka-aki possible. Users can access other users aka-aki profiles of people via Bluetooth within their current environment, meaning you do not have to add other users as ‘friends’ but can access other users signed up to the network. This information includes pictures and how many feet they are away from the user, pinpointed on a map. For instance, at a party they can locate whether they know any of their other aka-aki friends and if they may have something in common and start up a conversation. It can be seen as beneficial for business’ or entrepreneurs, where people conference for instance, can access other aka-aki users CVs and their job availability (Harvey, 2008). The future of SNS seems to be heading down a route, where users privacy is no longer considered as a necessity. The question is whether it will become a norm for users to cede this much information about themselves.

9 Locative media is a form of communication through media where the functionally is bound to a location. 10 Bluetooth is a wireless networking technology where files or information can be transferred usually on the mobile phone or a computer. 11 GPS stands for Global Positioning System, it is a radio navigation system that allows users to determine their exact location.


4.3 Summary This chapter has analysed the ways in which corporations can gain the users data. The new digital landscape is reshaping advertising, using social media as a platform. Several companies are making revenue from user generated content through various tracking techniques and new business models such as behavioral advertising. Facebook; one of the lead social media players on the Internet implies these techniques through their Facebook Ads. Whilst Google and Facebook battle for their revenue on the net, examples of the errors made on Google Buzz have created a further backlash for Facebook and Google. Whilst, the future of SNS proves that more information is demanded from the user, and could be problematic.


Chapter IV

Methodology


4.1 Introduction The previous two chapters on the critical review of literature is the stage of secondary research, which helped to focus and clarify the research problem; this in turn enabled familiarisation of primary research with the chosen topic area through the understanding of relevant theories, approaches and methods in research. The study was structured using Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill’s (2007) research process model (see Appendix H). This chapter will begin with the quantitative-qualitative debate, which was applied to the justification of the case study design used in this research. The collection of quantitative and qualitative data from the users of Facebook and the corporations who advertise on these websites was discussed and justified. Finally, the processes of statistical and content analysis were highlighted in the culmination of results.

4.2 Research Philosophy There are two main paradigms to research with different approaches: quantitative and qualitative. Reichardt and Cook (1979) distinguished the differences between quantitative and qualitative research, stating that quantitative methods test theories, whereas qualitative methods generate theories. A quantitative approach focuses on collecting facts by comparing one set of facts to another and observing social reality (Searle, 2004; Bell, 2005; Saunders et al, 2007). Quantitative techniques are likely to quantify generalised conclusions and distinguish variety in the complexity of social situations (Fisher, 2004; Bell, 2005; Saunders et al, 2007). However, a qualitative perspective explores the perceptions of individuals rather than statistical findings. For example, an interview will give an insight into opinions and ideas (Finn at el 2000; Robson, 2002; Bell, 2005). There are advantages into using qualitative research for e-commerce based studies especially that of online marketing. Parasuraman and Zinkhan (2002) and Searle (2004) believe that qualitative research helps gain a deeper understanding of emerging trends.


4.3 Case Study Design Yin (1994, 2003) states that case study is a research strategy based on any mix of quantitative and qualitative evidences. Case studies typically use multiple methods for data collection from a number of entities (topics, people and places) in the examination of human complexities involving ‘problematic’ relationships. Therefore there is potential to use both quantitative and qualitative approaches when researching consumer and marketing, as this study helped to accumulate in-depth perceptions of both the consumers and the corporations in their views of using the Internet. McStay (2010) claims that the investigation of online audiences and advertising largely consists of quantitative research, whereas qualitative understandings of digital audiences emulate from a selective number of discourses from a niche audience, which provide a narrow picture of reality. Additionly, Parasuraman and Zinkhan (2002, p.278) believe that “Internet technology (should adopt a) multidisciplinary approach (to understand) the impact of technology on business and society.” A combined quantitative and qualitative approach has been used when examining the views of users, whereas a qualitative approach will be applied to understand the perceptions of marketers in the industry and the government. The use of both methodological and data source triangulation helps to boost the rigor of research (Kumar 2005).

A 24-item questionnaire was designed to

collect quantitative data from users of Facebook. This was followed by a focus group interview of 10 volunteers of Facebook users, which generated qualitative data. This was supplemented by further qualitative data from a taped interview of panel speakers from a selection of media and corporation representatives at an Amnesty International meeting in London. These processes will be discussed in detail in the next few sections.

4.4 Sampling Method and Ethical Issues in Research 4.4.1 The User The sample of users was selected with some criteria in mind; the population under study being users of Facebook, therefore taking the opportunity to select from the student population at the university. This is known as convenience or purposeful sampling, as the


most conveniently available individuals are selected on purpose for data collection (Bell 2005). After conducting a pilot study, the questionnaire was sent at random to around 200 university students and friends via Facebook. The message included a detailed explanation of the purpose of the survey, reassurance of privacy and the usage/storage of the collected data. The message also welcomed contributors to invite friends to complete the survey (allowing a snowball effect). The collection of quantitative data took a total of 4 weeks, which allowed sufficient time for respondents to participate. The next stage in collecting qualitative data from the user group involved a focus group interview of 10 volunteers from the university student population. These were students were recruited in the same manner, through advertising on Facebook. Volunteer sampling is an easy way of recruiting respondents, but yet these volunteers may be ones who have the

most

to

say,

therefore

not

necessarily

capturing

the

voice

of

the

less

‘opinionated’ (Fisher, 2004). Before the start of the interview, these students were reassured of their rights and privacy as with the population that completed the survey questionnaire. 4.4.2 The Corporation The meeting involving journalists and representatives from corporations and the media was advertised on the Amnesty International website. The title of the meeting was: “Is technology really good for human rights?” There was an initial presentation by speakers from Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for Google, Technology Correspondent for the BBC, Author of ‘The Cult of the Amateur: How is the Internet Killing Our Culture’, Professor of Global Media and Communication, School of Oriental and African Studies and Kevin Anderson, a blogs Journalist from the Guardian. This was followed by a question-and-answer session and the speakers from the panel fielded questions from the audience.


4.5 Data Collecting 4.5.1 Questionnaire survey There were twenty-four questions in total in the questionnaire; these consisted of closed questions with multiple choices. Some were set out in a likert-scale format, which consisted of short statements where respondents were asked to select from a five-point scale, ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. This the most appropriate ‘question’ type for the collection of attitudes from respondents (Oppenheim, 2000) (see Appendix H for copy of questionnaire). The questionnaire was piloted by sending out hard copies to twenty friends and relatives. They were a diverse group with varying backgrounds, ages and gender. The feedback from the pilot had resulted in some useful changes to the wording, meaning and sequencing of the questions. 4.5.2 Focus Group Interview The focus group technique is one of the most common approaches to research in social sciences. It is a technique that is used by market research hers to test products or in political science to test issues with voters (Bell 2005). The group of ten students consisted of a mix of ages and gender. They came from different faculties within the university, although seven out of ten were studying on the same course as the researcher. One-to– one interviews were not considered, as focus groups are more interactive and better for interviewers to study people in a more natural setting (Kumar, 2005). After the initial introduction, a set of open questions was used to start the discussion and to maintain the flow. The following were some examples:

-

Do you use your Facebook account for a business or an interest, i.e. promoting: Club nights/ Exhibitions/ Artwork/ A community/ or club. If so, what are the benefits?

-

What should be done to prevent your personal data being violated on the Social Networking Sites?

Kumar (2005) stated that the “moderator” of the focus group need to plan ahead and determine beforehand some of the questions to ask. The role of the moderator is to guide


the discussion by listening attentively and taking notes if appropriate. Saunders et al (2007) emphasize the policing role of the moderator as each participant in the focus group need to be given equal opportunities to speak. The whole interview took forty-five minutes. Each member of the group spoke and there was a buoyant debate on advertising on SNS and the issue of privacy. 4.5.3 Audio-taped Interview of Panel Speakers at Amnesty International Meeting The meeting was held at the Amnesty International headquarters, Old Street London (See Appendix K for Internet posting of event). The room was filled with over one hundred journalists, representatives from social rights groups and media websites. There were journalists in the audience who were live streaming the debate to a wider audience online. This took a total of one hour and forty minutes. The following were some examples of questions posed to the panel members:

-

Google’s business depends on knowing more and more about users such as behavioral advertising. Isn’t that going to be difficult to walk that line? You have to make bigger profits and that lies in knowing more about your users.

-

I wanted to ask whether corporations are immoral ? – One of the reasons we expect corporations to be moral is because corporations like Google wears their morals on the sleeve, etc. I think a lot of corporations like Facebook have been very active about open information. Where does this openness of information infringe on human rights (like new Social Networking Site, Google Buzz – there was no consent for followers, etc.) ? I think were walking into this new territory where open information is infringing on privacy.

(Question asked by researcher) At some stages, the discussions were quite heated; and the answers provided by the panel were well distributed amongst the panel members. They were well thought out answers, which were carefully worded as the panel was under the spotlights of both media and activists from social rights groups.


4.6 Analyzing the Data Analyzing data is the heart of building theory from research, but it can be the most difficult part of the research process (Greetham 2009). 4.6.1 Quantitative Data from the Questionnaire Survey One hundred and eight questionnaires were completed fully on-line and these were analyzed using the Survey Monkey software. Oppenheim (2000) claims that questionnaire responses are frequently low (forty to sixty per cent), as respondents do not feel obligated to return these. This could be explained by the fact that self-reported data from questionnaires do not provide respondents with opportunities to clarify or justify their answers, which is one of the disadvantages of quantitative data (Kumar 2005). Statistical analysis of the quantitative data provided descriptive statistics as a summary of the respondents’ attitudes towards using SNS. These were visually represented as pie diagrams and bar charts, which will be discussed in detail in the next chapter. 4.6.2 Qualitative Data from Focus Group Interview and Audio-taped Interview of Panel Speakers Both the taped accounts were transcribed, which generated a large volume of data (see Appendices I and J for transcriptions). These transcripts were read and re-read several times, until patterns and themes were starting to emerge. This process of content analysis enabled the researcher to look for frequency and extensiveness of the comments made by the respondents (Bell, 2005; Kumar 2005). Some respondents were able to base their discussions on specific experiences; others were able to own up to feelings. These were valuable data that were use to validate and supplement quantitative data from the questionnaire survey.


4.7 Summary This

chapter

described

the

various

processes

that

contributed

to

the

research

methodology. The researcher was able to reflect on these stages, which in turn helped to understand how and why these processes had been vital in the production of both quantitative and qualitative data. Although a large amount of data was generated, methodological and data source triangulation had paid off as they added to the rigor of the research by the generation of rich data.


Chapter V

Results


5.1 Introduction The quantitative results consist of 108 respondents. As the results were obtained from SNS Facebook it is assumed that the respondents are technologically aware, due to the main age population on Facebook is of a young generation between 25-34. Therefore, this was taken into account when analysing the results. The qualitative data was based on two sources; a sample of 10 students that use Facebook and the responses of five industry professionals. Some of these industry professionals are representative of a corporation, all of which have a background in SNS or digital media. The relevant data will be drawn from the findings and presented in order to summarise and discuss the results in the next chapter.

5.2 Characteristics of Users on Facebook 5.2.1 Respondents Gender Figure 5.0 shows the male and female participants in the research. There were slightly more female respondents than males (54% to 46%).

Figure 5.0 Respondants

Male Female


In contrast, statistics show that females use the Internet less than males (Clicky media, 2010). Figure 5.1 Male and Female frequency when using the Internet 100 90 80 70 60

Male

50

Female

40 30 20 10 0 A few times a day

Once a day

A few times a week

A few times a month

Once a month

A Few times a year

5.2.2 Age range Figure 5.2 represents the age range of respondents that participated in the research. The research showed that usage of Facebook amongst 18-25 was most common by a high percentage of 70%; the second highest response rate was 26-32 (24%), and 33-40 year olds coming third (5%).


Figure 5.2 Age Range of Respondants

Under 18 18-25 26-32 33-40 41-50 51-60 61 + I don't want to say


5.2 Social Networking Site Preference Figure 5.3 shows other social networking accounts used by respondents, apart from their Facebook account. The majority only held a Facebook account. MySpace being the second highest at 23.8%, Twitter closely behind at 21.4% and Linked in the third highest at 12.6%.

Figure 5.3 Social Networking Site Preferences

Facebook (None) Twitter Myspace Bebo Other Linked In

This is compared with Mintel’s pie diagram collected in 2009 concerning national numbers.


*Regular meaning few times a week to few times a day, which covers all of the respondents

5.3 User Awareness towards their Personal Information and Privacy on Facebook 5.3.1 Introduction Figures 5.4 – 5.15 show the different statements asked on a scale from Strongly AgreeStrongly Disagree, which were asked to create general perceptions amongst users. For statement ‘It is my legal right to know what information a website knows about me’ as you can see in Figure 5.0, a high percentage of respondents strongly agreed (62%), whilst only 1 respondent strongly disagreed. In addition, 89% either strongly agreed, or agreed.


Figure 5.4 It is my legal right to know what information a website knows about me. 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% Strongly Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Figure 5.5 shows the amount of respondents who have set their Facebook profile as limited by using the privacy filters. This means that only certain information is shown to other users when viewing their profile. A high majority of users from the respondents use privacy filters at 88.8%, whereas there was only a small amount of respondents who didn’t at 11.1%. Figure 5.5 Do you use privacy filters on your Facebook profile (you have a limited profile)? 100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% Yes

No


The latter question was divided into two parts, asking respondents how recently they had changed these privacy settings; in the last month, in the last year, in the last 3 years, 3 + years, or Not applicable.

Figure 5.6 If so, how recently did you change your privacy filters? 50.0% 45.0% 40.0% 35.0% 30.0% 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% In the last month

In the last year In the last 3 years

3 + years

Not applicable

Results showed that the majority of respondents had changed their privacy settings within the last year (46.2%), however a large amount of respondents had changed theirs very recently, within the last month (38.8%). Figure 5.7 shows statement ‘The privacy policies on Social Networking Sites are easy to understand’. Results suggest that most respondents disagreed, with a total of 52.7% either disagreeing (37.0%) or strongly disagreeing (15.7%). In addition, many respondents had a neutral viewpoint at 26.8 %, whilst 18.5% agreed and 1.8% strongly agreed.


Figure 5.7

The privacy policies on Social Networking Sites are easy to understand. 40.0% 35.0% 30.0% 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Strongly Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Figure 5.8 shows statement ‘I am sceptical what information Social Networking Sites have about me’. Results suggest a high amount scepticism towards SNS with a total of 66.6 % respondents strongly agreeing (23.1 %) or agreeing (43.5%), 24% were neutral and 9.2% disagreed. Figure 5.8 I am sceptical about what information Social Networking Sites have about me.

Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree


Figure 5.9 depicts the statement ‘ I am nervous about close friends or family members giving up personal information on Facebook’. The results conclude the majority of respondents were neutral at 29.6%, whilst more respondents disagreed (15.7%) or strongly disagreed (4.6%) at 20.3% then agree (4.2%) or strongly agree (7.4%) at 11.6 %. Figure 5.9 I am nervous about close friends or family members giving up personal information on Facebook. 35.0% 30.0% 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Strongly Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Figure 5.10 shows statement ‘I have experienced problems with friends/partners/ employers from reading information on the News Feed on my/their wall’. These results were varied as whilst a high percentage agreed (39%) and strongly agreed (13%) at 42%, only a slightly smaller amount disagreed (25%) or strongly disagreed (8.3%) at 31.3%.


Figure 5.10 I have experienced problems with friends/partners/employers from reading information on the News Feed on my/their wall. 40.0% 35.0% 30.0% 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Strongly Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree


5.4 Users awareness and Perceptions Towards Advertising on Facebook Figure 5.11 depicts the statement ‘ Facebook are able to track what I click on and what pages I view’

Figure 5.11 Facebook are able to track what I click on and what pages I veiw. 50.0% 45.0% 40.0% 35.0% 30.0% 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Strongly Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Figure 5.12 shows a statement, which was created to test the user awareness of how Facebook Ads are used on the site. The majority or users did not agree or disagree, with 37.9% respondents answering with neutral. Almost equal amounts of respondents answered agree (25%) and disagree (25.9%). Similarly respondents answered strongly agree (6.4%) or strongly disagree (4.6%) were also almost equal amounts.


Figure 5.12 I would not use a service or social network that uses my personal information to target adverts of interest to my social interests.

Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree

Figure 5.13 shows the respondents click through rates in regards to the adverts on Facebook. Results suggest there is a low interest in the behavioural adverts displayed on Facebook, with 30.5% answering yes in comparison to 69.4% who didn’t. Figure 5.13 Have you clicked on an advert on Facebook? 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% Yes (Please don't include accidental clicks)

No


In Figure 5.14 research matches Mintel’s finding which suggests that woman are 6% more likely to see and advert on Facebook than men. Figure 5.14 Have you clicked on an advert on Facebook? 80 70 60 50 Male

40

Female

30 20 10 0 Yes (Please don't include accidental clicks)

No

Figure 5.15 shows the respondent’s interest in the adverts displayed on Facebook. Results suggest that a high majority of respondents have a low level of interest; at least 80.4% choosing disagree to strongly disagree. Whilst 15.7% of the respondents had a neutral stance, only 4 respondents agreed (3.7%) leaving no respondents to strongly agree.


Figure 5.15 The adverts I see on Facebook interest me. 45.0% 40.0% 35.0% 30.0% 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Strongly Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Figure 5.16 shows statement ‘When registering with a website, I am happy for my information to be passed onto third party companies’. Results how that a high majority of users either disagreed (28.7%) or strongly disagreed (64.8%). 2.7 % of respondents were neutral while, 3.7 % agreed, none strongly agreed.

Figure 5.16 When registering with a website, I am happy for my information to be passed onto third party companies. 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% Strongly Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree


5.5 User attitudes of Social networks in the future Figure 5.17 shows a steady relationship with Internet users views on where digital surveillance could lead in the future. Results suggest a high percent Strongly agreed (38.8%) or agreed (34.2%) at a total of 73%. 16.6% where neutral and a smaller about disagreed (8.3%) or strongly disagreed (1.8%).

Figure 5.17 I am nervous about where digital surveillance could lead in the future. 45.0% 40.0% 35.0% 30.0% 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Strongly Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree


Chapter VI

Discussion of Results


6.1 Introduction In this chapter the primary research findings will be evaluated and the implications examined (Fisher, 2004). The research will explore the aims and objectives and the main points in the literature review, which will include:

-

The validity of the research findings based on a random sample of respondents on Facebook

-

The characteristics of the Users on Facebook

-

Users preferences towards SNS

-

The user attitudes and awareness towards their personal data, privacy and advertising on SNS

-

The advantages to the corporations which use SNS

-

How corporations make use of the users information

-

Why users are both co-operative and resistive

-

How to prevent users information being exploited and how to create awareness amongst users

The Industry professional’s view and focus group study from the qualitative research will be correlated with the findings from the quantitative results, to summarize the relationship between the user and corporations on Facebook.

6.1.1 Validity of research findings The results are measured through validity by comparing with Mintel (2009) and Clickymedia (2009) statistics. Results are in accordance with the UK gender distribution with fairly more women using the social networking site making up about 51%, with men at approximately 46% and 3% unknown (Clicky media). In addition, Mintel (2009) statistics show that the highest amount of users were in the 25-34 bracket at 83%, whilst the 15-24 bracket was lower at 79%, which differs when correlated with the findings being highest at 18-25, however, this could be due the survey respondents accessing the survey through the authors Facebook with the majority being a similar age of 24 and below.


6.2 User Preferences towards SNS

6.2.1 Facebook will Remain Social Network Leader Results suggest the majority of respondents only held a Facebook account, (taking into account all of these users held a Facebook account) supported research indicated that MySpace was the second highest and Twitter closely behind. The amount of respondents who also used Twitter was significantly more than the Mintel results in November 2009 this could be in correlation with comScores findings, stating that whilst Facebook is still the most popular, it is not the fastest-growing as Twitters growth was 41 times that of Facebook (Mintel, 2009). However, this could be because it is a newer SNS. MySpace, which launched a year earlier than Facebook in 2003, was initially more successful than Facebook dominating the UK SNS scene. (Mintel, 2009) This could explain, MySpace having the second highest amount of respondents. However, Facebook remains market leader due to it being the most innovative and improving the sites features more quickly and opening up to third party action developers, who encourage users to become more active through the applications and games (also interacting with the brands). (Mintel, 2009) Qualitative findings support the quantitative results; Respondent A mentions, “ Mmm because they are adapting to an open platform, everyone can make applications.” (AS) Involvement is also key to Facebook, where they encourage users to become active by participating and contributing though the applications. (Mintel, 2009)

As respondent E states “I think that’s they main difference to Facebook, its contrary to all the other social networks, it actually involves its users completely, like 100%.” The Facebook backlash did not seem to have affected the number of users. Respondent S suggests there is a loyalty to Facebook and its future. “I think Facebook will last though,


whereas other social networks they didn’t do much improvements, and now Facebook, how everybody can contribute and make applications, like Apple - how people can contribute. So I think it will expand and its still gonna last.”

6.3 User Attitudes towards their Information and Privacy 6.3.1 Know your Rights Statement ‘It is my legal right to know what information a website knows about me’ shows that a high majority of the respondents attitudes are that they are aware of the law under the Section 7(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998, ‘Right of Access to Personal Data’, which protects the users rights online (See Appendix L, for This section of The Data Protection Act).

6.3.2 I’m filtering you out of my Life When respondents were asked about using privacy filters the statistical figures showed that a high majority of users from the respondents are conscious to the openness of information on Facebook, and like to keep some of their information private. This corresponds with the qualitative data as respondent A claims “Not just a single conversation on Facebook is open, but every single action nower days, cause you can’t hide them anymore”. This question was divided into two parts, asking respondents how recently they had changed these privacy settings; in the last month, in the last year, in the last 3 years, 3 + years, or Not applicable. This is because there has been a tightening up on privacy with users since the ‘Facebook backlash’ around 3 years ago, and more recently a change in Facebook’s privacy settings. A large amount of respondents had changed their privacy setting very recently, selecting ‘within the last month’. As the questionnaire was issued January 2010, this could be due


to Facebook’s recent change in Privacy settings in December 2009 (Facebook, 2010). Users were ‘introduced to new tools to control their information where users can set their content to be viewed by friends’, friends of friends or everyone (Facebook, 2009). This secondary research can be correlated with the qualitative data, which suggests, Facebook’s recent changes were vague and caused privacy issues amongst users (Popken, 2009). This is reinforced by the quantitative data, showing that 52.7% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that Facebook’s privacy policies are easy to understand. As respondent A claims, “If they change anything in their options they should notify everybody- I think they should let people know but they don’t. So you don’t, you just notice some changes.” Respondent S backs this up by stating “it said oh we improved this we improved that but I never received a message saying but make sure you check your album because now its available to everyone.” Respondent A claims, “Facebook is making unnecessary change for their marketing proposals.” This is supported by the 2.7% of respondents who said they would rather pay to use a SNS than the site you’re their personal information to make money from advertisers. The respondent’s attitudes towards how SNS such as Facebook store and use their information suggest a high amount scepticism with a total of 66.6 % agreeing that they were sceptical in this area. This backs up Mc Stay’s (2010) argument that trust is key between users and consumer controlled spaces and that users are correct in being concerned about how their information is used and who it is shared or sold to due to marketers wanting more highly defined audiences.

The corporative stance on this issue shows recognition of the vulnerability of users as Mehta (2007) discusses in Chapter II, Section 2.6.4. Susan Pointer, (2010) who is Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for Google, claims that users should have choice, transparency and control. (Pointer, 2010)

“We do have the ongoing discussion with our users. Privacy comes down to individuals having choice, transparency and control. Privacy in the human rights space is interesting – we want the option to be anonymous but we also want to know who is saying something.”


6.3.3 The Facebook Fight General respondent perceptions suggested there was an openness of personal information to other users on the site; such as attending social events, photos, and messages displayed on the wall posts; all of which can give others users a good idea of a users life and social life. Consequently, the majority of respondent’s opinions towards leaking of information to family members were neutral and towards friends/partners/co-workers results were varied. Both questions towards the leaking of unwanted information to family or friends, partners, and co- workers did not show a strong viewpoint. However, when questioned about negative experiences, such as arguments offline sourced from information online with friends/partners/co-workers just under half of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed showing that there is some evidence that arguments do occur in this way. This could perhaps suggest people do share too much information online and the design of Facebook of which this information is presented contributes to this. Qualitative data demonstrates that there are some cases that can lead to a heavy use of privacy filters or a resistance to add family as friends. “I don’t want to accept a friend request from my niece, she is 15 I don’t want her to see my pictures, I don’t want her to see what I’m doing- so I always decline it”. Whereas, respondent S claims “My parents have Facebook but I’ve locked up every privacy setting in existence so they cannot even find me by search” The qualitative data is also suggesting if privacy filters are not used wisely, it can cause family arguments, due to the openness of information, as respondent E mentions “I’ve had some big, big, big fights with family, before I could set up my privacy settings properly some of my family members didn’t know I was smoking, or that I could drinkand some of them are Muslims, like proper Muslims; women don’t smoke, women don’t drink, women don’t have boyfriends before marriage.” Indicating that users do not have enough control of their privacy settings, or that the application does not make the filter process user friendly, or simple. One argument could be that the privacy settings should be set to the maximum by default to prevent this. Although, this is not in the interest of Facebook, as the corporations require this rich content for direct marketing.

Qualitative data can be integrated with quantitative data and secondary research to suggest that there is evidence of Facebook causing relationship jealousy in romantic


relationships due to the openness of information. The results from the study from the Cyber Psychology and Behavior Journal (Parr, 2009) show: - Relationship jealousy: 16.2% of respondents were explicitly linked to Facebook use contributing to jealousy

- Lack of context: 7.4% of respondents referenced how Facebook can be ambiguous and that, without context, jealousy can be spurred over misunderstandings. “Things can get misinterpreted online, like text messages- it can mean one thing, it can mean something else.” (Respondent T)

- Accessibility of information: Increased info about the interactions of significant others lead to increased monitoring and jealousy for 19.1% of participants “...when I had a boyfriend I used to have argument with him, through pictures, or suspicious messages…you don’t know what happen but leave something on your wall on his wall or her wall” (Respondent A)

6.5 User Attitudes and Awareness Towards Advertising on Facebook The user attitudes towards advertising on Facebook were generally uninterested whilst their awareness seemed changeable and fluctuating. For statement

‘ I would not use a social utility or network which used my personal

information to target adverts to my social interests’ was created to test the users awareness of how Facebook Ads are used on the site. As Chapter III, Section 3.4.3 has established, Facebook Ads uses the users ‘Interests’ entered into their profile and the social graph, such as ‘wall posts’ and ‘status updates’ (Facebook, 2010). Research from previous findings imply 66% of people still object to advertisement targeting on privacy grounds in the UK (Bearne, 2009).


As all the respondents own a Facebook account, they are essentially using a service or social network that uses their personal information to target adverts of interest to their social interests. However, the general response from respondents is showing variable and indecisive viewpoints. The majority of users answers with a neutral viewpoint this may be because they were not sure whether adverts were targeted at users to their interests or they just did not understand the question. This could demonstrate the lack of awareness to how the users think their information is used on Facebook. In addition, there this does not guarantee that the user is not aware; there are other factors to be considered:

Users may be impartial because they feel the need to disclose their information in order to interact with their peers.

Perhaps only those who have experienced problematic encounters (credit card fraud) on Facebook would be less inclined to give their personal information to be targeted.

In regards to the users attitudes towards the adverts displayed on Facebook, few respondents demonstrated interest. Results suggest that a high majority of respondents have a low level of interest with only 4 respondents agreeing they were interested. (3.7%) However, the advert or brand may have made some impact on the users perception. Furthermore, evidence suggest there is a low click through rate (effectiveness) in the behavioural adverts displayed on Facebook, with 69.4% of respondents claiming they have never clicked on a Facebook advert, suggesting that social ads are not as effective, despite the fact they are targeted towards the users social interests. Mintel (2009) suggest one motivation for clicking through is: -

Relevancy is important in ensuring that Internet users interact with ads, but it’s also important that advertisers include the facility to ‘opt in’ to marketing communications.

The disinterest in respondents could suggest an unreliability of behavioural interests targeted through adverts, just because, the user has typed a keyword does not necessary


mean they are interested in it. In addition, Facebook users currently have to ‘opt-out’ or have no choice in the matter. (Facebook, 2010)

6.6 Users Attitudes and Behaviour 6.6.1 Resistance and Cooperation Mc Stay (2010) sates how users can be in a balance of states of co-optation, negotiation and resistance. The term co-option in this context refers to how users can be cooperative or willing to engage with online audiences and the sub-processes, which generate highly targeted digital advertising, in this case, Facebook. As qualitative and quantitative results conclude they can also be restrictive. This theory will be outlined through De Certeau’s ‘concept of the everyday.’ (Certeau, 1984) Martin Lister et al believes that “’The concept of everyday life’ is central to the study of culture and media, but is often absent from accounts of new media technologies” (2003, P. 220). De Certeau’s concept of ‘the everyday’ can be useful for analysing user behaviour in this way. He details how we find ourselves having to negotiate strategies from institutions involved in representation, consumption and production wishing to assimilate us. De Certeau (1984) believes there is a relationship between the user and corporations where there is a manipulation in power relationships, especially when used in targeting an audience. The corporations who have the budgets are the dominant party, being inflexible in how they run their strategies, whereas the user is more vulnerable, therefore being more adaptable. This demonstrates how the user can be both co-optive and resistive at the same time. Just as how people may watch advertising breaks during a film, but even though we do this, we do it begrudgingly. This same theory can be applied to Facebook, and may suggest a link to why users are sceptical about their information and privacy on these SNS yet still use the utility, explaining the rise in Facebook members. This will be explored further though Fishbein’s (1980) theory of planned behaviour.


Figure 5: Fishbein’s Theory of Planned Behaviour [Revised by Alzen 1991]

It has been established that the results of the quantitative and qualitative results suggest that there are privacy concerns on behalf of the user, with the majority of respondents agreeing they were sceptical to how SNS websites use their information. If the users attitudes are this why are they not following through with their behaviour? The following quote outlines Fishbein’s theory of planned behaviour model in Figure 5. “Attitudes and norms often work together to influence behaviour, either by triggering behaviour directly or by combining to influence intentions to act, which in turn direct behaviour. People’s perception of control over the behaviour is also an important influence on intentions and thus on behaviour.” (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1977, 1980, P. 411) People do not act on attitudes if they believe the performance of the behaviour is beyond their control (Liska, 1984). Smith and Mackie (2000) believe that this is particularly true when acting on our attitudes require social interaction. This is because we rely on the other people who shape our social surroundings to determine if we act on our attitudes. For example, even if the person believes they may have control over the situation, they do


not have enough actual control to carry through the attitudes or intentions into their behaviour because we rely on interpersonal cooperation (Smithe and Mackie, 2000). This can be seen through the qualitative data, as respondent (E) believes, “It [Facebook] won’t disappear because it’s a comfort, everyday comfort to access everybody through that medium” This is where ‘social norms’ come into place. “Social norms often conflict with people’s personal inclinations” (Smithe and Mackie, 2000, P.237). It is becoming a social norm to participate in Facebook, as over half the total Internet population reach has a Facebook account (See Figure 2 in Chapter II, Section 2.42), bearing in mind the majority of Facebook respondents from the primary research are within the age bracket of the most widely sourced age groups that use it (Mintel, 2009). Also as Rowan (2010) claims “Facebook is well positioned because when all your friends are on Facebook, it makes no sense to go elsewhere.” “People also want to be connected to others, to be liked and valued by those whose opinions they respect. When a group comes to an agreement, it leaves people with feelings of both mastery and connectedness.” (Smith and Mackie, 2000, P.331) This theory shapes the whole Facebook model; from Identity management (open portable identity, personal profiles), the Communication (person to person, group synchronous, asynchronous), to Social content distribution (file sharing, document collaboration) (Spivack, 2007). For example, Facebook users can post pictures; friends can comment or ‘Like’ a post, thus gaining value opinions from those they respect. In addition, this provides the corporations with insight.

6.7 How to make the User Aware and Prevent their Privacy being exploited It can be assumed, from the discussion that users awareness to how their information is used, shared or sold (Mc Stay, 2010) is key to help create a ‘neutral platform’ (Pointer,


2010). Susan Pointer mentioned this term in the qualitative discussion from the Industry’s perspective. “...at Google we are advocates for free expression on the Internet and free access for all; the technology itself is and should be a ‘neutral platform’ for this. Enabling communication and the exchange of information- it does not itself dictate who does the communicating or how we assess the communications. Nor does it require that we leave our human faculties at the on switch – the Internet democratizes the channels.” However, secondary research has proven that not all corporations, even Google embrace this ethos on their platforms; for example, Google’s recent backlash over privacy and lack of choice on part of the user for Google Buzz (Ahmed and Evans, 2010). In the focus group case study the sample were asked ‘ What should be done to prevent your personal data being exploited on SNS?’ Focus group respondents agreed and identified that something should be done to prevent their personal data being exploited on SNS. As respondent A “I think laws and regulations should be necessary.” Qualitative data suggests that it should be the government who enforce new policies or to create awareness. “I think the government should do something about it” (T). In addition, the respondents seemed doubtful that this change was to be made by Facebook. “I don’t think Facebook will make a general change for us, they would have to pay for the service for the people, and they don’t care” (A). It was also suggested that Facebook has perhaps run out of options to create a safer environment for users as respondent S claims “But how do we make people aware? Email messages? Because the information is in the terms of service, that you agree to when you sign up on Facebook, but nobodies going to read that.” One respondent mentioned the government in Spain had run a campaign to make users aware of how their information is accessed. “…in Spain there are ads that are run by the government – a campaign- making you aware of SNS and how people can access your information”. (Respondent A) Respondents agreed that this would be the way forward and that creating awareness amongst users would be the first step in talking this issue.


Conversely, the government does not seem to be in favour to the protection of users information on Facebook. The introduction of the Digital Economy Bill at the beginning of this year already means that Internet Service Providers (ISP)12 are required to keep and pry on users ‘traffic data’13 . However, according to the Open Rights Group (2010) the government wants to be able to get hold of this data as part of plans for ‘Intercept Modernisation Programme’. This includes prying on Facebook and other SNS monitoring the users Internet traffic. More critically, this Bill proposes to centralize all this information into a series of databases, where they will gain permanent and easy access to this data for them to retrieve and analyse. (The Open Rights Group, 2010) The qualitative data on behalf of the corporations (Susan Pointer at Google) suggests that more trust between the user and corporation and tools for the user to control their information is necessary.

Individuals ought to have: 1) Information about how their data is use and what for 2) Options and the tools to control that like dashboard, which Google has introduced (Pointer, 2010)

6.8 User Perceptions of Social Networking in the Future Internet users scepticism on where digital surveillance could lead in the future, were high with approximately 2/3 of respondents showing their concern. The Industry professionals expressed concern more towards the storage of this information and how this may be used in the future. As Anabelle Sreberny comments, “the 12 ISP are a company that provides individuals and other companies access to the Internet such as BT,

Orange and Sky 13 Traffic data is the conveyance of messages or data through a system of communication such as the Internet


material you have put on the net, may want to be used or shared again, yet you can’t get to it. There is a bigger debate not only about privacy and surveillance but actually what happens to the content that we are putting on it.� (Sreberny, 2010).


Chapter VII

Conclusions and Recommendations


The research conducted throughout this dissertation has built upon both the positive and negative aspects of using SNS as a platform. This was explored by reviewing how corporations use the platform to their advantages by accessing user information and comparatively what the user attitudes and awareness was towards this. It has been established that there are potential dangers to the openness of user information on SNS. Facebook policies state user content can remain viewable in cached or archived pages on Facebook and that when even removed information can persist in backup copies (Facebook, 2010). Users’ awareness and attitudes were highlighted through research indicating how freely information is shared amongst peers; The peer-to-peer interaction between users highlighted the openness of information which is ceded on SNS, whilst the social graph emphasizes how an idea of personal identity can be achieved through mapping of users online social connections and friends (Zimmer, 2009). Limitation with the study of users was that most respondents were of a young age bracket sample. More responses from an older generation (probably rising Facebook members) would be recommended for further research. Consequently, past research findings were reinforced showing that users giving up this personal information about themselves through UGC could be problematic to the extent where arguments can occur. This demonstrates users are giving away rich content information about themselves and also shows it is not just corporations who are prying. It was identified that all of this data is valuable to corporations and Facebook cannot operate without it as the Facebook business relies on the user, to generate content (See Figure 3: Facebook’s Behavioral Advertising Model; The Social Graph and Profile Information, Chapter III, Section 3.4.4). This outlines the how the user and corporation relationship is complicit; the corporations rely on the user for data, as does the user for the use of the social utility. (Ball, 2009)


Digital advertising is forecasted to rise and new business models on the Internet, including social media are replacing traditional ones such as TV and radio, identifying a need to strike a balance between the need to generate advertising revenue and members demand for uninterrupted social experiences. The research identified that respondents were aware of their legal rights online, in regards to being informed about how their information is used (Data Protection Act). Yet they did not seem to be aware of the ‘trade off’ when joining SNS sites such as Facebook; personal information allows the opportunity for tailored advertising, such as social interests. In terms of marketing, research suggested some of the advertising on Facebook, were actually ineffective to the user, being interested or with low click through rates; with evidence suggesting that they were also irrelevant despite being tailored to the users social interests. Therefore, non-profit SNS could be a future trend. Users attitudes showed that they had concern for their privacy and were generally sceptical towards how corporations may use their personal information. This was reflected through their use of privacy filters and the mistrust of corporations. Users would have some awareness through the media due to the backlash. Additionally, research suggests that after Facebook changed their privacy policies, they could have developed this through their own experiences. Despite this, secondary research and qualitative data identified that users still owned a Facebook account and members were increasing suggesting that users are both cooperative and resistive. A further recommended area to investigate would be to see to what extent information is shared to users who were sceptical. This resistance was explored through Fishbein’s theory of behavior suggesting that Facebook's skeptical users attitudes may not be enforced by their behavior. This could be because Facebook is becoming a social norm and “social norms often conflict with peoples personal inclinations” (Smithe and Mackie, 2000, P.237) and people want to be connected with others through this platform, so that they can be “liked and valued by those whose opinions they respect” (Smithe and Mackie, 2000, P.331). This could suggest that only when the ways of being mass marketed to out way this enjoyment and social norm to participate on Facebook, users may leave. However, this study does not suggest that leaving SNS all together is necessarily the solution. It is to create awareness amongst users of the dangers of giving up so much personal information on these platforms. Recommendations could be to further investigate why users are not preventing their information from being accessed, for example:


-

Public awareness i.e. Spanish Government released an awareness campaign

-

Difficulty to understand SNS policies, terms and conditions

-

Technical understanding of how to amend settings

-

Default Settings (Opt-in / Opt-out)

User attitudes were unconvinced that the privacy policies are easy to understand on SNS, whereas, the qualitative data on behalf of the corporations identified the need for SNS to be more user friendly. Susan Pointer (2010) suggests that privacy comes down to choice, transparency and control. However, although Facebook introduced new ‘tools’ research suggested they actually did not give the user control over their own information. This was due to a lack of information on part of Facebook, when changes took place and how to understand and use the tools. The Research illustrated that users should have the choice to ‘opt-in’ instead of settings being set on default for users having to choose ‘opt-out’, when it comes to releasing information to third party companies. Research illustrated how a significant amount of respondents were not happy for their information to be given to third parties, and the lack of awareness to use privacy controls means this can go unnoticed. Consequently, users should have the right to ‘opt-in’ to being traced and tracked through the use of ‘cookies’. Recommendations to how Facebook can strike a balance between their revenue and the user experience: -

Facebook’s use of user content has to have clear limits.

-

The User should be able to ‘opt-in’ their privacy settings to their information being used for commercial purposes or third parties.

-

The user should be informed what third parties their content is sent to.

-

User policies and license should be easy to understand, like the use of content.

-

UGC should expire when the user deletes it, or closes their account.

-

Facebook should be ‘opt-in’ only so that they can’t change the terms (like the privacy settings) whenever they want.


-

When Facebook updates its Terms of Use it should be highly visible to all users

-

Users should be notified of any Policy changes in advance, so they can decide whether they want to continue to use Facebook or to close their account.

Qualitative findings suggested the need for a government campaign to help users be more receptive towards their personal information. In addition, it was established it is highly unlikely for this change to come from Facebook as it does not suit their marketing proposals, nor is it likely Facebook would pay to offer users a free service. Therefore it is recommended the UK Government enforce these policies. However, government plans for the future and protection of the user does not look promising. Plans for increased Internet data retention and mass surveillance on users everyday communication, through the ‘Intercept Modernisation Programme’ (Open Rights Group, 2010) on the Internet suggesting public policy is going in the wrong direction. (Killock, 2009) The use of the Internet on mobile phones is forecasted to rise by 67% in 2011, whilst the revolution of smart phones at the beginning of 2010 was predicted to set off a trend for SNS on the mobile. These SNS cede even more information, where locative media can locate users information, which is providing even more information to marketers, further extending surveillance techniques. It can be concluded, that if users do not become more aware of the privacy threats on current SNS, or adapt to the new digital landscape then there could be potential risks. If this is the case, the user may be controlled by these institutions and manipulated to the extent where they must conform (Orwell, 1949). “There are a lot of social critics who say this is exactly how you would evolve into a fascist state, or a social state, or a dictatorship; which is if you’re invited in, you ignore the consequences and all of a sudden it’s George Orwell’s 1984… and I think there’s some merit in that.” (Batelle, 2010)


Appendix I Transcript for Focus Group Study Transcript for Focus Group Study Exploring Students Views on the Intrusive Nature of Social Networking Sites; Facebook and Aka-aki and How to prevent privacy being violated

Thanks everyone for coming today, I appreciate it a lot. You’re all here to discuss the topic of Facebook and new social networking site Aka-aki; in regards to how you use social networking sites, preventing users privacy being violated and what is to come of social networking sites in the future. You were selected because this case study is trying to establish how the first generation to grow up with the internet, has an understanding of new media and advanced technologies. So first gonna start off by asking a few questions about the positives and negatives on Facebook, so: Do you use your Facebook account for a business or an interest, i.e. Promoting: Club nights/ Exhibitions/ Artwork/ A community/ or club If so, what are the benefits? Tamara: I don’t personally, but everything Im involved online in is to do with that. So events I get invited to tend to be through people who organized a group on Facebook U: If not, do people see the advantages in that ? Benny: I find it annoying, to always be invited to these events. U: In what way? Not if I know them but sometimes I find it annoying when someone who is friends of someone whose events it is sends it on. Yoko: I agree its annoying and I cant be bothered to read mail from the events Tamara: I think for business purposes it is quite useful, like your artwork or something


Benny: Its like spam and is quite rude. U: How about SNS such as FB and Twitter that are being used as a platform to raise political issues such as things going on in Iran, do you think things like spam outways the positives to raise awareness globally? Alex: I think it’s a very good and effective platform for this The speed. You can spread information. You can get many people involved very quickly Sarah: I like it when there’s actually facts being shared such as the examples you made in Iran, its an effective platform to receive information, you can’t get that from normal media, but I find it annoying when people use there social status messages to get on their soapbox and rant about politics, I have a few American friends who are very conservative and they always rant about that and I find that quite alienating, I find it really irritating. U: Has anyone experienced problems offline from goings on Facebook? For example with work or friends or partners, like maybe if you had an argument from someone reading something on your wall or putting up a picture from the night before and getting fired from work. Alex: Yeah, when I had a boyfriend I used to have argument with him, through pictures, or suspicious messages. Alexis: Through Facebook? Alex: Yea through Facebook, you don’t know what happen but leave something on your wall on his wall or her wall Tamara: Things can get misinterpreted online, like text messages- it can mean one thing, it can mean something else. Yoko: I haven’t been involved personally on that issue, but my mate went into work one morning and her workmates printed off drunk pictures of her and stuck them on the wall- and ridiculed her. U: Did she get into trouble? Yoko: No, I don’t think she got into trouble, its invasion of privacy.


Sharon: And its not just pictures its between conversations aswell, if you don’t have your privacy setting set, then people can actually see a conversatiom between you and your friends, which is kinda scary cos everything little thing they can see. Alex: Not just single conversation but every single action nower days, cause you can’t hide them anymore, they’ve changed their options- so you can see who has become friends, and who did something or other, you have to delete it manually or just leave it. U: Has anyone had that, said their attending an event and then had someone turn up at the event because they knew they were there? Alex: Nah that’s scary Sarah: That is scary Chole: I know a lot of people who have split up because of things on Facebook Ella: I’ve had some big big big fights with family, before I could set up my privacy settings properly some of my family members didn’t know; I was smoking, or that I could drink- and some of them are muslims, like proper muslims; women don’t smoke, woman don’t drink, woman don’t have boyfriends.. before marriage. U: Who was that? Ella: It was me! - so I had some feedback from some of the Turkish members of my family, it was really scary so I had to set them up in limited profile, I had to change everything, cause it was getting really annoying. U: That was another question I was going to ask- Do your parents have Facebook and if so do you have them as friends? Everyone: No Nooo No


Alexis: No no no, noo its like my niece, for like two months she is on my back asking me, always sending requests to be my friend on Facebook. I told her but you see me everyday so you don’t need to be friends with me on Facebook. But she thinks your on FB Im on FB and so many times I’ve sent you a request and you always decline it so what is going on. I don’t want my niece she is 15 I don’t want her to see my pictures, I don’t want her to see what I’m doing. So I always decline it, so sometimes I feel I should take my profile off Facebook. Sarah: My parents have Facebook but Ive locked up every privacy setting in exisitance so they cant even find me by search. Alexis: Ah that’s good you know how to do that, how do you do that? Sarah: Yeah my mum has it aswell so she uses it to say ‘Oh your cousin had a baby’ whatever, I don’t even tell them that I have Facebook, I am very careful that I sign out before. Sharon: I have my parents on Facebook, but I have them on limited profileso, its fine- because I can’t really reject them Alex: Not Facebook, Im friends with my mum account on Korean SNS, and I don’t have the option to set a limited profile so she can see everything I post like comments and stuff- and she doesn’t know about my homosexuality or anything but I cant really mention- well I post crazy party pictures, but I keep my fingers crossed she doesn’t getting any clue from it. U: So you don’t have any filters? Alex: No unfortunately, and I ask my friends, that shes my mum so don’t put anything crazy What about inclusion and exclusion on Facebook, do people ever felt included because they know whats going on on Fccebook, or excluded No No No Tamara: It’s a personal thing, if you know your friends have sone something- theres probably a reason why ! If you don’t they will probably call you up or something, its not that bad. U: What do people think the future of SNS will be? Alex G: That it will grow probably


Tamara: I think it will become less popular, it will be about more business’ and stuff and less talking. Alexis: It will get less popular Alex G: Less? U: Why do you think it will become less popular? Tamara: I dunno, I think that its just like, fashionable at the moment and I think in 10 years time there will be so many that no-one will no which one to join. Or they will just dies out in general because new technology will develop something new and different Sarah: Or there will be something new Alexis: Something new Alex G: But it will still be social networking, maybe not Facebook, just not necessarily that Format Benny: Well it used to be Myspace and now Facebook, maybe something else.. Alex G: ..And it used to be messenger before that, now its twitter Alexis: So still existing but maybe just not this form Sharon: But I think Facebook will last though, whereas the other social networks they didn’t do much improvements, and now Facebook how everybody can contribute and make applications, like for Apple- how people can contribute. So I think it will expand and its still gonna last Sarah: If they reinvent thereselves, yeah if they keep improving Ella: I dunno if its gonna be Facebook or another one, but I think it will be more simplified and maybe more focussed on professional , and simplified, not bringing too much personal information but literally what your interested in, what kind of business you wanna work in. I think its gonna be more professionalized U: So do you think, you think it will become less popular, but in a way do you this it’s a way young people sort of almost organise their lives, through this platform- do you think they will


use something else, or not at all? Do you think there will be a new fad, or social networking sites will just die out? Sarah: Well people don’t talk to each other the way they use to so, yes I think something will have to be something else to replace this if it does die out. So yeah something else will come up, I don’t think we’ll to back to using diaries, or just phones even. Ella: It wont disappear because it’s a comfort , everyday comfort to access everybody through that medium Alex: Its like mobile phone, Ella: Exactly Alex: ..sometimes it annoys you but now you cant live without it. Before we had mobile phone we were completely fine, but now weve experienced it- we cant live without it. Its like Facebooks the same I think- the point is how well they read they consumer trend and stuff because Ive been using SNS since 1996 and I had many to other website, but some of them have gone some are still there. But the successful SNS they don’t remain as one form, they expand their options and functions, they change themselves U: Do you think that’s why Facebook is the most popular? Alex: Mmm, because they are adapting the open platform, as Sharon said they everyone can make applications. For example, translations, they didn’t hire like professional translators they just hired normal people to build Facebook in another language. And you can see how much you’ve translated how much percent so it gives you some kind of involvement, so you think youre apart of it Ella: I think that’s the main difference to Facebook, its contrary to all the other social networks, it actually involves its users completely, like 100%. Which when you compare to, you upload your pictures send a message and that’s it. Your not proactive in the website Alex: The most important thing is that you have many annoying people on your friends list but also you have some people you don’t want to lose contact with – some random people you met on a trip, you don’t talk to them everyday but you want to be in contact with them- and in terms of that Facebook is a great tool, because you can be connected with someone across the Atlantic, someone random.


U: I mean coming from Korea, do you find it useful in keeping in contact with people back home, or do you use another? Alex: Well I used Korean SNS with Korean people, because we are really attached to the website its called -Cywall and I think most Korean people own an account and are connected with that website. Facebook I use it with people from the western countries, and random people Ive met on my travels. Alexis: I use, I more use Skyype, which is quite the same thing aswell, because if you have an account we can talk on Skype, for me Im more contact person, Im not like writing messages Im not that type of person, so I go more for Skype where I can contact people. U: With video? Alexis: Yeah with video U: So that may be a aspect of how SNS may evolve in the future? Alexis: Yeah, if it could do that, that would be perfect Alex: Theres something really popular in Hong Kong at the moment- and I think the thing about Facebook is, it allows you to connect with other social networks. Liek you can have twitter feed on your Facebook page and they can kind of sync and then if you have a blog- cos Hong Kong people like wiriting blogs, you can get notifications on Facebook - So everything connects- It puts everything together. U: So, has anyone heard of the new SNS aka-aki? No No I have a video here to show you of how aka aki advertise their SNS…

(Show video) -

“ What would a day be like without aka-aki, Anna would have missed seeing her friend Marie walking by the café just where Anna happens to be sitting, Marie would never learn that Julian is in Canadian films, just like her. Julian wouldn’t have a clue that his old school friend Yann happens to be in the city, Yann would take much too long to figure out how to talk to Sarah and never see her again, and Sarah would never know that her friend Anna is sitting in their favourite café. Aka-aki connects you to other


people, those near you, in your area, in your city. Aka –aki tells you who is crossing your path and who is near by and lets you get in contact afterwards if you miss the chance. With aka-aki you always know what your friends are doing with aka-aki you show others who you are and what you like. Aka-aki doesn’t cost a thing and works with almost any mobile phone.”

Alex: Its quite scary Alex G: Does it track where you are? Alexis: It tracks where you are? Benny: Location based. U: Aka – aki is a new SNS which can be used on smart phones Alex: I know one very similar application, called Grinder. Do you know Grinder? I don’t have a smartphone so I cant use it Alexis: Yeah yeah I can show you that, its quite similar- you can see people in the area where you live, you can text them, you can have a drink wih them and have sex with them. Alex: Basically a good friend of mine is a big fan of Grinder, and every night he just searches other guys in the are and send instant message and shagg, its very quick U: Is it mainly for like dating? Alex: Yea just mainly for shagging Alexis: Its like now, in elephant in castle I can see eall of the gay guy who is connected to this application U: Is this advertised for just gays? Alexis: No everything, you can have girls Alex: And similar to aka-aki you can say what you are interested in Alexis: Why you looking at me like that, im just explaining !!? …I never use it.. It came with..


Alex G: ..It came with the phone ! Does it do that with GPS aswell Alexis: Yeah with GPS so it locates everyone round the area. Alex G: But you have to have that installed you cant just find anyone?, but you have to be on Grinder..? Tamara: So you have to make friends on there..? Alex: No no no you don’t have to, you can see- If there on online .. you can just.. yeah Tamara: Just people who are online in that area- how do they distinguish the locations? Alexis: GPS? U: Yeah so they’ve integrated GPS, you know like all the geeks that are like ‘wheres this?’ and put it in their phone and tells you where it is, and Bluetooth so it can trck the user users in the same room so it can tell you where they are Alexis: You got there picture, you got their email everything Sarah: Theres an app on android like that as well U: So what do people think of aka-aki, would you be interested in joining up? Do you have negative or positive thoughts about it? Alexis: I love them Sarah: Is it always enabled? U: No, you can always turn it off Sarah: But if you forget to turn it of? U: Then.. Sarah: I can see it causing problems and personally I wouldn’t use it, because I tend to be quite private about things like that.


Yeah Sarah: But I can see the advantages of it definitely. U: Do you think its quite intrusive? Yeah Yeah Alexis: For me, its more interesting because its more from where your located you can meet people, and you can straight. You don’t have to go through Facebook, and find someone, you can just go through peoples pictures and see who is on it and see who is around. For example, if Im at Knightsbridge or South Kensington and see if Tamara’s at home, it could give me this information and I could knock her door. U: You could also just ring her couldn’t you? Alex: Yeah you could just ring her or text Alexis: Hmm.. Alex: I think this will make our lives more complex because you cant just walk down the street peacefully you would find fear, with always being interrupted Tamara: Because your always logged onto your phone right? Can you acces it online U: All I know is you can turn it off and turn it on when you want to use it. But, I mean probably everyone knows here that Facebook has great advantages to corporations and advertising and being used as a platform that way, can people imagine how this can be an advantage to advertising and corporations? Yeah Yeah Alex G: Well they can track where you move and where you carry out your social life U: Because do you remember in Minority report, you walk into a shop and the profile of the shop will pop up and then the next week you get sent offers or discounts to eat there or whatever, they will know where you are so you will have advertising to your phone as well.


Sarah: If it’s a conscious decision to do that but if Im turning it on and I want to receive discounts and I want to remember the shop, if it’s a conscious descion I don’t see a problem with that, because people who can use that and want to can, but if it’s the kind of thing like the ‘opt out’ thing if you have to opt out of it and your not aware then I have a serious problem with that cos the idea off being track, anyone being tracked without their full consent I think is bad Alex: Yeah location information can be quite a sensitive matter I think. U: So Facebook are doing a similar thing; Facebook’s ‘life casting’ which is currently being launched, this feature is a ‘social location application’. This form of locative media locates the users destination and embeds this in their post . It would probably take someone like Facebook for something like this to kick off as Facebook already has a large amount of users already. Do you think if Facebook did start doing this, would you continue to use it or would you opt out? Sarah: Sorry ‘Lifecasting’ ? U: They’ve started a new thing called Lifecasting where they embed where you are in your post. For example, ‘Sarah posted, from Elephant and Castle’ Sarah: So you’re actual real life movements are.. broadcast? Benny: Im not sure about that… Tamara: But it kinda already exists as you can see if people have posted from their mobile, but I think I’d give it a go, if I like it I’ll go with it if I don’t.. U: Will ownership of smart phones set off a trend? Who has one? Who has a smart phone U: Do you use Internet the same amount on your phone? Sarah: About equal amounts for me. The problem with my mobile is that I cant get the full thing which you can on the computer, theres something you cant do on it, otherwise I would Tamara: I just use it on my laptop I don’t use it on my phone, and Ive got a smartphone Benny: I just see my phone as my phone and my computer as my computer ! Alexis: Im on pay as you go so it cost me money to go on the Internet !


U: So SNS must create a balance between the exchange of the user experience and the advertising revenue, do you agree? How? U: Do you find the adverts on Facebook put you off using the site? Tamara: I don’t notice it, I never look on that side of the page Sarah: I never notice it Sarah: Somebody used my computer once, a cousin used it to search for bridal gowns or something, and I was logged out at the time, and when I logged in it had ads for it on the side. And that freaked me out, so I almost quit Facebook, at that point but I didn’t. So yeah, that kind of stuff puts me off when its actually taking information that I didn’t put into Facebook Tamara: Yeah and also the information you look up that’s kind of a joke or your looking up something for a friend you know when you just do stupid stuff online and your looking up silly things it doesn’t mean.. Benny: ..Just checking out porn and stuff Tamara: ..Yeah exactly! It doesn’t mean that your actually interested in those things Alexis: That’s really interesting, I like that Tamara: ..It comes up anyway, which is why I just ignore it. Sarah: I think the way Amazon do it is much better, whatever algorithms their using, Facebook is a bit hand fisted in the way they do it, its like you search for something and immediately you see it there, I dunno its not as cleaver as the Amazon one, I think. Ella: Theres a couple of really funny single/ marriage adverts, about forfilling or marriage or something, I don’t see behind that, it doesn’t relate to me Sarah: I think the fan-page suggestion seem to be more accurate than the ads, the ads are usually way off or freaky, but you know the way it says


U: What you were talking about was social ads, where they use your personal information not just in your interests but in your status updates and posts to target adverts towards that, what do you think the implications are of this? Alexis: You go the choice to give information and put on Facebook, so if you put it there it doesn’t mean you don’t care about your privacy and you want them to use it? Sarah: Do you mean private messages, that’s a problem I don’t like that ! U: In the past few years there has been a backlash, well a supposed Facebook backlash in the media how information has been leaked such as Beacon, for example it has no longer operating since he sued them $15,00 cause of a Christmas present to his wife, a ring bought on an external website was unexpectedly revealed to his network, ruining the surprise. Stuff like that just shows how Facebook have pushed to the limits of how they have used peoples information, do you think people are aware of how social networking sites or other similar media platforms used peoples information? No Alex: I don’t think people are fully aware Alexis: No we are not aware, I can say that I’m not aware Its like time I was with Ella, because I had my picture on Facebook, and I put my name on Facebook and my Facebook picture came up. Tamara: But not only that but your linked to anyone, like anyone who is famous , or has a name or whatever U: What like posts? Tamara: No just pictures Alexis: Yeah my profile picture and everything on my profile picture a well like my status Sarah: But you can set it so that you’re not searchable, you can change the settings so that doesn’t happen Alexis: Yeah but Im not aware.. that’s why it’s a surprise! we don’t know what were exposed to


Ella: But we are a bit more aware, because of the lectures of everything, you know on privacy and dataveillance- we are a bit more aware then general people. But when you think of common people, they don’t have any clue of what is going on U: So do you think if people are aware it would put them off, or they are too many advantages to use this social networking site, and there is too much resistance to leaving.. not necessarily leaving but just being more cautious about your personal information? Alex: Yeah Sarah: I think the only thing that will make people leave in big numbers is if they start charging as in when I talk to people that’s the line that they draw. Alexis: Yeah and sometimes it can put people off, after I saw my picture on google, I ws thinking of leaving my Facebook account Ella: There are many people that have left Facebook completely, who were against this information thing but when you check again you realise that a few of them have asked you to be their friend again.. Alex: Yeah, because they can’t live without it ! Ella: ..but they have erased their whole profile they have built a new one with no pictures, just maybe a hometown with a fake hometown and fake date of birth, they just cant deal without being without Facebook, to not keep in touch with people. U: I don’t think people should necessary leave Facebook, I think if people are more aware then they can know how that information is being used, I think that’s a right they should have Alexis: Exactly Sarah: But how do they make people aware? Email messages? Because the information is in the terms of service, that you agree to when you sign up on Facebook, but nobodies going to read that. So you cant expect people… Alex G: That should be the government that do that, in Spain there are like ads that do that run by the government- a campaign- making you aware of social networking sites, and how people can access your information, Its not actually done by Facebook its done by the government.


U: But do you think its bad, that its done by the government as well because they monitor? Alex G: Well they regulate it so.. U: ..But that’s good though. But anyway, just to wrap this up, what do you think should be done with your personal data to Benny: I think it should be ‘opt in’ instead of ‘opt out’, because now you have to change all the settings yourself, to filter out everybody who can access your information, if you want to opt into that then you can - you shouldn’t have to change this manually to exclude anybody Alex: And also if they change anything in their options they should notify everybody- I think they should let people know but they don’t. So you don’t just notice some changes and think ‘Oh right’ Sarah: Yeah I went 48 hours without realising that everybody could see all my profile pictures, you know when they changed it recently. U: Oh yeah Alex: Not only can they see all your profile pictures, but you can’t hide yourself from people who aren’t your friends anymore, so they can see your pictures U: I find that quite funny actually, because whats his name, that Mark Zuckerburg sent out a news bulletin, to say, you can change your privacy settings, to make it better but then your profile pictures could be seen. Sarah: ..And some of my profile albums were available but not just to friends of friends, but to everyone, which is not what I would want at all so I mean it said oh we improved this we improved that but I never received a message saying but make sure you check your album because now its available to everyone. Alex: They’ve been quite sneaky because recently they changed the interfaces a couple of times, but I think its just too, I think they wanted to give off change in their security options but they just cant do that so they just changed the interface to cover what they’ve done. But people are being aware of it actually cause I can see some bells ringing around the security option thingy. Or just Facebook is making unnecessary change for their marketing proposals. Sarah: And the thing is after the change I can see wall-to-wall conversations of people who aren’t even on my friends list and that made me worry


Alex: And you can’t turn it off, you can’t hide them Sarah: So I sent an email to them, I don’t know what, you know the privacy department Alexis: Wow Sarah, wow Sarah: ..Yeah I was really pissed off, so I sent it off and they replied and they didn’t even read the email and just said. ‘I’m so sorry we do not have the option to do this at this time.’ U: So like a generic answer Sarah: Well yeah, and I replied to that and it was a similar kind of answer Alex: For example, if you are friends you can see the other friends friend list you cant hide them, so for example, you are my friend and I cant hide my friends list to you and you cant to me Tamara: But if your friends it shouldn’t matter, you shouldn’t care if they see it Yeah but you have some people on your friends list you cant really delete them and you don’t really want to show them Alex: Like I have people on my list, like I know them but I’m not really close friends with them. Its like I’ve known them before, but I don’t really know them U: Yeah, I’ve always been quite fussy about who I accept as friends Yeah Yeah Yeah U: Just because, well before I changed in privacy settings anyway, because you are literally letting them into your life, like all the photos your tagged in my are now private because people can get like a grasp of your life.. So, What should be done to prevent your personal data being violated on the Social Networking Sites? Alex: I think laws and regulations should be necessary


Tamara: I think the government should do something about it Yeah Yeah Alex: I don’t think Facebook will make a general change for us, they would have to because they would have to pay for the service for the people, and they don’t give a shit Alexis: I think the government have to do something about it, like in Spain there more informal- they do they same ting for alcohol, they do the same thing for cigarettes, they do the same thing for drugs, they should do the same thing aswell to protect your citizens Sarah: But then again rules and regulations can only take you so far, I mean like about what Alex was saying about having advertising that tells people, I think that’s a good way, like a campaign saying this is how your information is used, your searchable in this way some kind of campaign that’s really interesting, because if you’re just gonna have laws and regulations that’s only one half of it the other half is how the users actually interacting themselves with and protect themselves, so if there not protecting themselves, we cant do it for them Alexis: Yeah educational campaign U: Yeah like Digital Economy Bill which has come out last year and theres nothing protecting the users privacy online, and it has outraged sort of social political groups who are sort of against that but – that sort of shocked me a little bit, there was one thing as well they encouraged ISP providers to monitor who were going online to make sure they weren’t, cause there clamping down on, what was it, illegal file sharing and stuff so now ISP are encouraged to monitor who are going on their websites, so instead of trying to protect the users, like with the whole Facebook thing, they haven’t really implemented anything. Ella: What was that example from? U: It’s the Digital Economy Bill Sarah: In the UK? U: In the UK yeah it just came out at the end of last year Ella: We have exactly the same problem in France, they have created a new authority to regulate who is exchanging, file sharing and they want to put a tracker inside the router, when you sign your Internet contract with the Internet provider, it doesn’t say anything on the


contract that it has a tracker, and that tracker is related to the authority. If you are downloading you have a warning.. U: Yeah ! that’s exactly what their doing, its called the third strike rule, and then they will disconnect you from your ISP Alex G: And when are they starting that? U: I think they are starting now Ella: And the thing is it can track every little thing you do U: And also if will effect everyone who is using the same ISP not just you, innocent people and they have no evidence as well Ella: Exactly because people don’t just use their Internet they use the neighbours Internet so you can pay for a fine for something you didn’t do- which is stupid U: OK I think we’ve got quite a bit over time now so thanks so much for coming


Appendix J Qualitative Interviews and Discussion at Amnesty International Meeting Qualitative Interviews and Discussions Amnesty International- Is Technology Really Good for Human Rights? Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology Correspondent for the BBC The prevailing ethos of the Internet and the web, (which I suppose when we talk about technology is really what me mean here), has been full of optimism about the potential that technology has to spread ideas, to be a means for free expression and to break down barriers. “The Internet interprets censorship as damage- and routes around it” (Early Internet Guru) That ethos continued to be pretty wide spread until two to three years ago. In the last three years we have has events in China, Burma and Iran, where we have seen both the potential of this technology to aid people in free expression and fighting for human rights, but also we’ve seen the potential for those who were unsympathetic to that cause to use the technology in there own way- so a bit of an arms race is developing between freedom and recession. What we’ve also learnt is that technology is pretty a-moral- it doesn’t care. In Iran we’ve seen it used to get out all sorts of interesting material to document the opposition to resist attempt of censorship. We’ve also seen it used by the government, having bought a high-spec mobile phone system, I’ve found that its particularly useful for monitoring calls and having a closer look at what anybody is doing online.

Susan Pointer- Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for Google Q. Do you think technology is really good for human rights?

Declaring an interest as a passionate advocate of the potential of Internet technology. When it comes to the potential to underpin human rights, for me the question is not technology good for human rights but is the access to information, the ability to connect with people online, to use online tools to mobilize offline activities, to question wisdom, and shine a light of


transparency – it’s a useful tool for promoting and underpinning human rights. So, the answer is yes as a ‘tool’. The access to information drives knowledge. The technology itself is not intrinsically good -at Google we are advocates for free expression on the internet and free access for all; the technology itself is and should be a ‘neutral platform’ for this. Enabling communication and the exchange of information- it does not itself dictate who does the communicating or how we assess the communications. Nor does it require that we leave our human faculties at the on switch – the Internet democratizes the channels. Rather than ask if the tool is perfect or not, we should work together to make it a perfect tool, by understanding how we can make it a better tool and keep the internet platform healthy.

Andrew Keen- Author of ‘The Cult of the Amateur: How is the Internet Killing Our Culture’ Q. Susan Pointer, PR of Google has been extremely positive about whether technology is really good for human rights, is it right in saying were expecting something a little bit more cynical than that?

I wouldn’t describe myself as cynical, I would describe myself as a little bit more sceptical, perhaps more realistic. I would never argue that technology is against human rights. When it comes to the Internet, you can of course find lots of examples where twitter or Facebook or email have been used by governments or corporations or regimes. But, the tools of the digital revolution are used by those against the regime but are equally used by those in the regimes. Because of the nature of the Internet, where traditional intermediaries have been done away with, it’s increasingly easy for regimes to use this supposed democratized media for their own. I haven’t seen that much proof that Internet has changed [post the Obama election]. Changes come through people and culture and not through technology. I’m not arguing that it is bad, but the Internet isn’t necessarily good for human rights. Annabelle Sreberny- Professor of Global Media and Communication, School of Oriental and African Studies (with special interest in Iran, bloggers & social media) Q. Are technologies good for human rights ? Communication technologies have been good for human rights since we created the alphabet.


These are tools that can perhaps accelerate the speed of information and the number of people involved, but it’s always had the potential for change. Politics is communications by another name. Communication technologies have always been used for political change, especially with Iran. 1905-1911, people were publishing in exile, printing and sharing over the boarder, etc. in Tehran. The book that I’ve written on the 1975 revolution used leaflets and cassette tapes helped mobilize and push the revolution. Twitter, Youtube and Facebook are just the new tools for political change. Western audiences came to know Iran through the 2009 election, the Internet had been the place where you could find politics happening inside Iran when in person it was very hard there. For example, the Internet was important because it was difficult to organize offline. Given the difficulties of face to face politics and public space control, many of the people 30 and under stay home where they can be online and be free. They are inventing it for themselves. One thing that Internet technologies can do is the bringing together across boundaries – so, the diasporas are slowly invited back into politics. Which causes a lot of Iranian politics to take place outside of the country. This is politics – we need the good and the bad; the cyber army, the 10,000 bloggers claimed to be trained by the national guard, etc. In Iran the regime hasn’t yet shown itself to be as savvy as the green movement. One thing that technologies can now do is the bringing together, making faster communication across international boundaries. Almost instantly Facebook went ‘Green’- and people were asked to set their location on Facebook with green profile pictures stating things such as ‘Free Iran’

Kevin Anderson- Blogs editor of the Guardian Q. Are technology good for human rights? I think in terms of human rights and damage of censorship the internet has been a net good. Without social media, we wouldn’t have been able to provide the kind of information that was available. It would have been a blackout of information but suddenly there’s a way to get it out. The Guardian had an injunction to gather all the names of the people who were killed and detained and that’s something that would have never been possible without the internet. I think what we are learning is that increasing the freedom of information isn’t all that’s needed to free those living under extremist regimes.

People point to Obama but it was actually a

perfect marriage of the internet and traditional pounding on doors. The internet can be problematic – some of the debates can become quite divisive online instead of cohesion. I


think underlying slacktivism isn’t enough – you can’t just turn your profile green. Just as the Guardian used crowdsourcing to get the names of those detained, the government is using crowdsourcing too. Security is going to be increasingly one of the things that internet activists have to learn. Today, a China official said the internet is a new battlefield without gun powder. The incident with Google in China has made aware the increasing militarization of the internet – targeted attacks against corporations and activists and that’s the most worrying development. These are sophisticated attacks and as the regimes become more sophisticated in espionage methods, people engaged in human rights will have to live in a new threat environment.

-

Q. I wanted to ask whether corporations are immoral ? – one of the reasons we expect corporations to be moral is because corporations like Google wears their morals on the sleeve, etc. I think a lot of corporations like Facebook have been very active about open information. Where does this openness of information infringe on human rights (like new Social Networking Site, Google Buzz – there was no consent for followers, etc.) ? I think were walking into this new territory where open information is infringing on privacy.

Susan Pointer: mission, people, leadership and so on decide who a company is. I chose Google because I felt that it made good decisions. It’s easy to disassociate ourselves as human beings though as an internet corporation. One thing I would say from our perspective is we follow through from the way we communicate, some would argue we are too open but I think that’s part of the process to engage with users. New SNS Google Buzz is one where we thought we had the controls in place but the options that were there could have been better with visibility – and we responded immediately. We do have the ongoing discussion with our users. Privacy comes down to individuals having choice, transparency and control. Privacy in the human rights space is interesting – we want the option to be anonymous but we also want to know who is saying something. Individuals ought to have: 1)

Information about how their data is use and what for

2) Options and the tools to control that like dashboard, which

Google has introduced


Q. Google’s business depends on knowing more and more about users such as behavioral advertising. Isn’t that going to be difficult to walk that line? You have to make bigger profits and that lies in knowing more about your users. Susan Pointer: Majority of our advertising is ‘contextual’ – the search you made and the content on the page is linked to the nature of the advert. We hold IP addresses, and not users. With behavioral advertising- you can also opt out permanently of being associated with certain things. In settings, users can have the option to opt out, or opt in to certain things. What is interesting the majority who have gone into that setting have not changed their settings. Annabelle Sreberny: There is another argument, which is- are people becoming information slaves? So much material used in British media is used from generated user content, which is sent to the big media- so of it used, some of it not used- what has happened to that? A number of Internet analysts are beginning to turn this argument around- why should we be working for free for large media? Facebook is increasingly hard to excavate, you can excavate a little bit, you cannot go very far. The material you have put on the net, may want to be used or shared again, yet you cant get to it. There is a biggar debate not only about privacy and surveillance but actually what happens to the content that we are putting on it. (Ward, 2010)


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User Vs Voyeur  

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