Bob Woodward team – Article

Facebook – friend or foe?

By Lexi Mitchell

“One day I logged in, I had about 50 new comments on my page. It was 50 of the same comment over and over again. These comments were from another young lady telling me off.” Victoria Escobar explains about her traumatic experiences on Facebook.

Escobar is just one out of many who has experienced an issue concerning privacy on a social media website.

Today Facebook is where the majority of this interacting takes place. Even though Facebook has a strict security policy, all bugs are never worked out on a social networking site. There have been countless cases of “cyberbullying” over social networking sites. There are also many cases that have led to sexual harassment. These social networking sites are not all bad, but can have harmful consequences if not informed on the subject.

Escobar first signed on to Facebook in 2008. “The Majority of my friends had Facebook,” she explains. There were many things she liked about facebook, “I liked how creative you could get with it. You could post basically anything. Pictures, music, and you got to make it your own. I think I spent more time changing my profile than I did communicating with others.” Though, not long after being a Facebook user, she was humiliated on her own profile.

“I deleted as many comments as possible. It was humiliating, and the worst part is we were really good friends. This was so out of character for her.” The thought of a friend posting mean things is awful, but social networking sites are a common place for bullying these days.

Facebook is one of the most dangerous social media websites out there. Not because of the website itself, but because of the access it could potentially allow its users. There have been multiple cases of horrifying events that have occurred either on or because of Facebook. This includes not only bullying, but also stalking and sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is quite easy via social networking, due to lack of protection of information. HPU dancer, Lexi Mitchell, has experienced how some people have no boundaries when approaching each other via social media. “Once a basket ball player from UH Manoa messaged me on Facebook.  He said he had seen me dancing at games, thought I was beautiful, wanted to get to know me more and would like to take me out. I had never seen this boy before, so it’s understandable why I was a little freaked out when this happened,” she tells.

Experts are concerned that young people today are so focused on exposing and branding themselves, that they forget that social media sites, such as Facebook, might have some privacy issues. “Our young generation do not think about long term consequences,” Christian Jessen Christiansen, professor in Media studies at Copenhagen University, explains. “This can have a huge influence on their future. Not only personally, but also when creating a carrier and establishing a network.”

When asked about her future use of social media, Escobar has no doubt that she will be more careful. “I think my past experience, has made me more aware of who I add, and what I post etc. I never thought about such things when I created my Facebook account.”  Escobar learned from her experience and hopefully others might learn from it as well. Facebook can be as much fun as dangerous.

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