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Social Networking: Limits to Privacy and Freedom of Speech

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According to the first amendment, citizens of the United States are guaranteed freedom of speech. My older friends and family members tell me that that is true, or at least it used to be. In our current generation there is one major factor of society where freedom of speech is extremely limited. That part of society is social networking. This leaves me to, is our generation free to express our opinions whenever we feel the urge? According to Oscar Gandy’s (1993) perspective, “we probably do not.”
Recent studies have shown that teenagers are willingly giving up private information to social networking sites just to be able to join that online community, and not realizing the problems this can cause. One main issue is that teenagers are not realizing that this type of information will stick with them for many years and many eyes can see it such as – colleges and future employers. High school counselors even spend time talking to students about keeping personal thoughts, information, and pictures off of these social network sites. These counselors tell stories of employers who have had multiple candidates for a job opening, all very qualified, who did not receive an opportunity to get the job because of a post on Facebook or twitter that they made while they were having a particularly bad day.
Does this mean that everything we post has to be carefully thought out? If you have to think before you post something online is it really freedom of speech? You should be able to express your opinions any way you want outside of school or employment and it should have absolutely no effect on that occupation. When speaking with friends people will say just about anything they want and they never have to worry about losing th...


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... phones, emails, and anything else they may be watching without any reason other than the “public safety” response they seem to use for everything they do.



Bibliography
Barnes, S. B. (September 2006). A Privacy Paradox: Social Networking in the United States. First Monday, Volume 11, Number 9. Retrieved from
http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1394/1312#b4
Beniger, J. R. (1986). The control revolution: Technological and economic origins of the information society. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Etzioni, A. (1999). The limits of privacy. New York: Basic Books
Gandy, O. H. (1993). The panoptic sort: A political economy of personal information. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.
"How the NSA's Domestic Spying Program Works | Electronic Frontier Foundation."Electronic Frontier Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.



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