Might Privacy Issues Spell the End of Social Platforms?

Over the holidays I began to see more people (and I already thought there were a lot) talking about concerns surrounding privacy. I’ve long subscribed to the rule that if you don’t want to see your words in a New York Times headline, keep them to yourself. However, many people don’t see things that way. And many have been hit by not keeping things private.

A few things happened over the holidays that caused me to look a bit harder:

  • Instagram planned to use the pictures “I” posted on their platform in advertising. User backlash over the proposed changed in the privacy clause in the terms of service was so intense they backed down. But for how long?

  • Netflix is looking at sharing “my” movie orders on my social pages, like Facebook.

  • Then the Wall Street Journal reported there’s no avoiding Google Plus as they are requiring a Google log-in to access all their products.

  • Employers are no longer allowed to ask prospective employees for password access to social media accounts.

What’s interesting in these four instances is that the older audiences (and yes I put myself there) are up in arms over this seeming loss of privacy while the younger generation (teens through 30) are saying “c’est la vie.” Employers are reviewing social media profiles of prospective employees to make sure they’re socially ready for employment while younger people are asking “what’s the big deal”? Have digital natives become so dependent on their digital life that they don’t mind sharing it all?

On the other side of things, my two teens have basically abandoned Facebook because it doesn’t offer them enough substance anymore. It was just too mindless. One is not really using social media anymore while the other has migrated to Twitter and Instagram. While these two instances may not be the beginning of a trend, it’s definitely something to watch.

And, for Facebook, as the “older generation” becomes their mainstay, I believe privacy issues could very definitely be their demise. The ability to connect with one’s grade school colleagues is great but maybe not if selling one’s soul is also required.

What do you think? Is privacy more important than the friends you’ve connected with? Will you connect your accounts as Google is asking? Have we all just said good bye to privacy?

The Barber Group

Gig Harbor, Washington


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