As a millennial, I am a user of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and many other social media networks. Thanks to them, day after day, I am able to share a wide range of information. However, I do not embrace a fully public approach to social media. I do not want everybody to know everything that I post; rather, I take an array of steps to restrict and prune away details from my profiles. With the wide range of steps that I take to ensure that my data is safe and private and the respective security promises of the companies that manage these social media sites, I would hope that my information does not get leaked around for everybody to see and use in any way. However, as we shall see, this is not the case.
Out of all the social media networks that I use, I have chosen to write about Snapchat because it reflects a much greater problem that we are continuously encountering with the continuous expansion of information technologies. The problem is the promise of companies to keep our information and our privacy safe from people that we do not want to share it with.
As we all know, Snapchat is a vanishing photo and video sharing app that was created in 2011 and took off in 2013 to become one of the hottest apps to have on our phones. It is this “vanishing” part that makes the app feel more secure than others where our content is uploaded and saved, such as Facebook.
However Snapchat has had increasing problems with the nature of their application as well as with privacy. First, there has been an increasing use of the app as a medium for sexting. Second, there have been increasing reports about third party apps leaking Snapchat pictures that were supposed have “vanished”.
As we may be able to see, Snapchat poses serious ethical issues about privacy, which I plan to address from a consequentialism point of view. After, I plan on arguing that with the use of social contract and virtue ethics we could avoid such situations.
Book: Ethics for the information age by Michael J Quinn.