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Social Media Privacy: A Dozen Myths and Facts

Article
10 July 2012
Author/s: Lothar Determann
Social networks and media are one of the latest frontiers for lawyers, lawmakers, politicians, entrepreneurs and academics. No one seems to claim that social media is the final frontier or even a particularly revolutionary frontier. After all, media and social networks have been around for thousands of years in one form or another. But, most are genuinely fascinated with the new opportunities, risks, and questions presented by the recent rapid rise of novel technology platforms that allow people all over the world to connect and communicate in new ways. Thus the usual games begin: innovators, early adopters, libertarians, and businesses assert that social media is not, should not, and cannot be regulated, as previously with cyberspace and virtual worlds. Concerned politicians, on the other hand, claim that social media is new, dangerous, and in dire need of regulation. Entrepreneurs explore new ways to monetize the new phenomena. All involved create buzzwords, hype, and myths to support their respective agendas. In this article, I am taking on twelve myths that frequently come up in such discussions, including at the 2012 Symposium of the Stanford Technology Law Review on "First Amendment Challenges in the Digital Age."
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