With the advent of the internet came the introduction of many high-tech forms of communication and services. Our socio-cultural awareness has been revolutionized by social networking sites such as Friendster, Facebook, MySpace, Multiply and the like. These online communities have widened our reach from just within our local neighborhood to the entire world. However, in so doing, they have also posed danger to our privacy and safety as they have become a vehicle for criminals to invade our lives through stalking or sexually harassing us, stealing our personal identities or performing similar other forms of cyber-bullying. While some of us just bear witness to these perpetrators, others are unfortunate enough to have become their victims.
Despite this setback, I donâ€™t think that any one of us is ready to rid our system of all these networking sites. What we can do, however, is to look for the safer venue where we can hang out and make friends, and use our heads to make valid decisions.
Letâ€™s examine two of the leading networking sites in the last few years - Facebook and Myspace. Over the years, both sites have battled criticisms regarding the security of their members, and although Facebook has been regarded as the “safer” choice than MySpace, letâ€™s try to probe some more to really answer the question Is Facebook safer than MySpace?
During my research, I have made few interesting discoveries to help us resolve this matter:
On MySpace Safety Issues:
â€¢ In October 2006, Wired reported that in an automated scan, it was discovered that MySpace has over 100 million profiles for registered sex criminals including one named Andrew Lubrano, who was cut loose in September 2004 but came back in 2005 hunting underage boys through his Myspace account.
â€¢ In November 2007, Foxnews.com exposed what is now known as MySpace Hoax whereby a 13-year-old Megan Meier took her own life after a teenage boy who pretended to be “Josh” befriended her and then suddenly ended their relationship. “Josh” turned out to be a fake profile created by an adult who was a member of a neighborhood family and was really intending to get the young girl.
â€¢ In its August 2008 article, Cnet.com cited a flaw in the mobile security system of MySpace which permitted public viewing of private messages made by members. Another security defect allowed users to delete bulletins from groups that they are not a member of and to post messages in groups that they were restricted from.
Myspace Safety Tips
On Facebook Safety Issues:
â€¢ The source code for Facebook’s main home page was leaked. With this defect in security of the social network, other security vulnerabilites could be found and exploited.
â€¢ A secret investigation conducted revealed that within days of registering in Facebook, teenagers were already receiving sexual advances from other members.
â€¢ On one occasion, an undercover police who posed as a 14-year-old girl
received sexually explicit notes from a 24-year-old male. A month following the discovery, the comments were still not deleted by Facebook.
â€¢ In March, it was revealed that a crack in the siteâ€™s security allowed individuals to view private pictures of other members even those of celebrities like Paris Hilton.
â€¢ In August, another glitch allowed â€˜non-friendsâ€™ of members to read comments on their pages.
â€¢ During the test run of the siteâ€™s beta format in July, over 80 million â€˜not for publicly displayâ€™ personal details of members were made public.
Facebook Safety Tips
With the aforementioned presented- Is Facebook safer than Myspace or the other way around?
As you can see, both sites have been without security problems.
On the positive side, however, their respective owners have taken subsequent steps to keep their networking sites safe:
â€¢ In May 2008, Facebook and the attorney general offices in most of the states in the US have agreed to oversee younger members more conscientiously and to set up an age verification system that would alert Facebook officials when messages are sent by minors to unknown adult members.
â€¢ MySpace has also planned on launching a similar security strategy by setting the profiles of 14- to 15-year-old members to private without control by said members to change it to public. In the same way, profiles of 16- to 17-year-old members will also be made private but they will have the choice to set it to public.
â€¢ Add to that, the privacy settings of MySpace gives members control over who can see them online, who can view their profiles and pictures,who knows their personal details like birthdays,and how to block other members.
So, with all the facts presented, is Facebook safer than MySpace?
I think it boils down to your personal preference really… So, which do you prefer and why?
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