Social networking is a communications technology that has assisted many people to interact across the globe. The concept has received a significant growth partly due to innovation in internet technology advancements. For example, the introduction of the internet has made social networking a powerful tool in bridging the gap of communication failure common in areas with poor connectivity. This paper will focus on the evolution of social networking and the ethical concerns of such innovations. Furthermore, it will aim at pointing out ethical issues in information technology industry.
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Social networking has created a virtual world, where users interact on a friendly basis. However, social networking has changed the definition of many things. For instance, the value of friends is different from the traditional. It is because on Facebook, friends refer to individuals who have developed relationships over the internet. As a result, they may not have physically met in any social gathering. Social networking is marked outstanding achievements thanks to information technology (Brennan, 2004).
Advancement in information technology is vital in improvement of living standards, as there is enhanced rate of sharing information. In addition, technological innovations have enhanced data storage capabilities; thus, guaranteeing users easy access of stored information. However, the progress in information technology requires taking in consideration the basic ethical standards. The reason is that information technology may pose serious ethical constraints if not careful thought and planned. As a result, the issue of ethics is part of any information technology advancement. For instance, social networking has both beneficial and detrimental impact on the users’ lives. Consequently, many turning points in information technology development and social networking have significantly transformed the lives of millions of individuals. For instance, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace developments have made it fun to interact with individuals across the globe by offering more features. Nevertheless, the spread of the social networking sites creates significant challenges to ethics in information technology. Nonetheless, most information technology regulatory boards have placed checks to ensure different players in the industry meet the ethical consideration (Brennan, 2004).
Therefore, actions by Beacon to extract data from Facebook without the users’ approval resulted in a legal proceeding against the company’s conduct. The act was in violation of the user’s privacy, and Facebook was on the blame side for failing to protect the information of its users against unauthorized access. On the other hand, Facebook should have instituted a mechanism that allowed the Beacon Company to consult the users to join the network. This had a negative implication on the company growth, as users had fears regarding their privacy leading to increased cases of accounts deactivation. The regulatory boards must always put strict measures against outfits that violate the ethical code of conduct of upholding privacy of users. Therefore, there is a need for social sites to institute control measures that will safeguard the interests of all their users. Social networking companies need to be vigilant on issues, affecting the users’ privacy. As a result, proper testing of any development program is indispensable to check on the possibility of any violations of privacy that can occur in the course of use. Social network should prioritize the user’s privacy (Costa, 2010).
An additional potential threat to expansion of social networks has been linked to violations of security. Before the establishment of social networks such as MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook, the proportion of crimes were on the lower side. However, introduction of some of these social networks have been linked to rise in criminal activities. For example, recently cases of child abduction were connected to MySpace. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, organized criminal gangs use MySpace to access private information of family members; thus, giving them relevant information to make plans of the time of their attack. In addition, increase in insecurity has been linked to social networks (Laudon and Laudonm, 2010). Facebook, as a platform, facilitates the coordination of the criminal gang activities. It is because criminal elements have used the noble innovation to facilitate information sharing, and subsequently, the organization of heinous activities. For instance, terrorist groups have used social networks to deliver information to their cells across the world, regarding arrangements of potential targets (Costa, 2010).
The utilization of social networks by criminals in facilitating their activities and increasing the scope of targets pose a serious challenge to the ethical standings of social sites. As a result, social networks development critics have ridiculed the innovation, terming them useless in enhancing the living standards of humanity. For that reason, to guarantee the social networks users the needed security, there is required checks that are in place to ensure that each system meets the security standards. In addition, the social network should have the capability of reporting the activities of criminal gangs to reduce the vigor of their operations. On the other hand, the increasing cases of abductions facilitated by social networks are a confirmation of systematic failures. Further research and development aiming at security enhancement on users’ personal information are necessary. It will reduce the incidences of criminal activities traceable to the use of social networks.
In addition, social networks development in recent years has been a key challenge to child safety. This is because of the challenge of controlling the children from accessing pornographically materials. Measures to control children from accessing social network have failed to meet the security objectives. Even so, it is beyond the control of the social networks because it needs support from other stakeholders such as parents (Laudon and Laudonm, 2010).
In conclusion, developments in social networks are essential for enhancement of the living standards by connecting multitudes. However, these developments serve other societal needs, regarding ethical considerations required in information technology. As a result, actors in the communication industry, specifically those in social networking, should take in reflection the fundamental ethics before implementation of any development program. Such moves ensure that the rights and privileges of the end user are of priority over other needs. Consequently, users will enjoy enhanced privacy and security with the improved ethical standards in the social networks. Progress in information technology must have advanced security as a feature.
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