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Disadvantages of Facebook - Sample Sociology Essay

Facebook plays a very important role in everyday life of millions of its uses. Today about 9 million people enjoy free convenient and instantaneous communication across the boundaries provided by Facebook. The site has opened untapped opportunities for both personal and business communication. In addition to enormous entertainment possibilities, Facebook has a tremendous educational potential. However, along with undisputed benefits, Facebook can pose many disadvantages and even threats. These include scam attacks, waste of time spent on Facebook, potential risks for professional life, and insecurity of personal data.

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1. Threat of Scam Attacks

Facebook is a fruitful platform for scammers as it gives easy access to a great number of people in a short period of time. What is more, users perceive Facebook as a safe and secure place to interact with friends and family, which makes scams further flourish. A recent study conducted by Security Research & Response team found that 35% of a targeted sample of Facebook users could be victims of phishing scams(Check Point’s Security Research & Response Team). A false sense of security, users’ curiosity, unawareness of the existence of scams, and inattentiveness are the major factors which make users easily tricked into clicking infected links on Facebook (Zorz).

Scammers exploit a variety of ways to trick people and steal their personal data. Typically, they use a fake website looking similar to genuine one in order to fool people in believing it is an official Facebook website. Login credentials entered on a phishing website are used by scammers to access a user’s account, steal personal and financial information available on the website, scam his or her friends and further spread spam and malware.

Malware-infection attempts in a form of fake Facebook notification emails is another type of Facebook-themed scams (Zorz). Such emails may inform about password changes, warn about account cancellation or deactivation of a Facebook profile, and include offensive comments or unknown friends’ requests. In addition, scams offering free goods from third parties or goods with Facebook logo are often lurking on the site. Then, scammers exploit people’s curiosity and take advantage of either fake of real news, funny, amazing and embarrassing photos and video which are likely to grab victims’ attention.

Although scams seem not that bad, their negative effect should not be undermined. Once a person was attacked by a scammer, his or her personal and financial information can be used for spamming and committing identity theft. Moreover, a computer hacker can impersonate an authoritative person in order to gain access to his or her business contracts or acquaintances. In addition, they can provide a continuous access to a user’s account along with the ability to post messages in a victim’s name (Zorz). Scammers can use a victim’s email address and phone number to obtain money and goods fraudulently, open new accounts, accumulate huge debts, and commit further crimes. Interestingly, many victims may not even know they have been scammed until they eventually find their money missing.

2. Facebook is a Waste of Life

Many people argue that Facebook is a total waste of time. Undoubtedly, social media can be useful both for individuals and businesses. However, the bad effect of Facebook is usually hidden in its excessive use.

Some people claim that social networking facilitates contacts with friends and family and participation in social activity. However, there are still concerns about social networking reducing face-to-face contacts. Indeed, in most cases face-to-face communication is a better way to get a positive result than to send messages on Facebook. What is more, the latter enables interlocutors to get straightforward answers. By contrast, exchanging messages in Facebook is a timely process unless people are chatting. In addition, Facebook takes more time to shape ideas and type messages.

Utilizing and updating a Facebook account is a time-consuming process, as well. Although it seems there is nothing bad about social networking, users spend a huge amount of time searching for contacts, sending messages, commenting photos, organizing groups, and viewing the updates on Facebook. Furthermore, there is a huge number of totally wasteful applications on the site, including countless silly games which make the opportunity to waste much time online almost irresistible.

What is more, in many instances users can spend time uselessly just being on Facebook. Actually, Facebook is the greatest waste of time. Many people cannot help logging in their account dozens of times a day without any sound reason. In the long run, Facebook addiction kills valuable time which could be spent with more benefit. For instance, excessive use of Facebook often has bad effect on students’ academic results. Time spent on Facebook could otherwise be used to foster studying.

All in all, although Facebook has some educational, business and communication potential, it is not the most productive place to spend a lot of time. Therefore, people should have more face time, and less Facebook.

3. Ruining Professional Life

Obsession with social networking can land heavy Facebook users in trouble at work as well. Primarily, a person’s Facebook ‘portfolio’ may reduce chances of getting a job. Employers often want to know more about their working staff. They search the social networking site in order to learn more about a future employee and his or her personality. As a result, the chances of getting a job may reduce significantly because of a person’s social networking website profile. For instance, offensive contents posted on a person’s profile page may get employers distressed and could result in failing a job application.

In addition, using social networking sites at work might have negative outcomes for a person’s career. Facebook blurs the line between work and personal life. On one hand, there are many business-oriented groups on Facebook which can be used as a powerful business networking tool. On the other hand, social networking sites might represent danger to the process of work when used not for work-related processes. Browsing Facebook at the workplace may cause distractions from the main activity. Therefore, many companies have strict regulation of usage of social networking sites. They introduce severe penalties including a dismissal for employees who fail to follow them.

Facebook poses some security threats to businesses, as well. In particular, hackers often utilize malware attacks on businesses through social networking sites. In fact, 33% of small and medium businesses in the US have been infected with malicious software distributed through social networking sites in 2011 (Europol). Lack of security gives criminals free access to personal and financial data of the company and its staff. That is why many offices have decided to block Facebook completely in their network. System administrators are usually able to access everything on the network and monitor staff activities on the network. An employee who is browsing Facebook in spite of the prohibition may be reprimanded or even dismissed. In such a way, Facebook may cause damage to a person’s professional life.

4. Facebook Cannot Keep Things Personal

Privacy is a rising concern on Facebook. Social networking sites have not only opened a world of social interaction, but also a virtual encyclopedia of personal information. Social networking sites invite users to share their personal information such as name, location, and email address, by displaying it on Facebook profiles. Facebook allows users to have control over connections and friends who can visit their profile. Such privacy settings enable users decide on the amount of information they wish to expose to their friends and other users of social networking site. For instance, Facebook allows a user to reveal his or her interests, activities, and personal data to friends, and simultaneously to restrict access to this information for other users. Nevertheless, many users ignore privacy settings and make the information they share on the site public, thus the data displayed on their profile may be misused by intruders.

Unveiling personal information on a Facebook profile page helps potential friends to locate each other. However, it also opens a great platform for hackers to harvest personal data and gain financial reward. What is more, Facebook likes can reveal a lot about a person. According to a study from the University of Cambridge in England, one can gain insight on “highly sensitive personal attributes” like sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, etc. just from what people liked online (Bean).

Then, on Facebook a user’s personal life updates come to the notice of all his or her friends. However, a user might not want his or her personal information to be exposed to all friends. In such a way, user’s privacy may also be comprised.

In addition, hackers may obtain personal data, credit card and online account details via personal messages (Commonwealth of Australia 15). They can stalk users and break into their personal mail. As a result, integrity of identity, privacy and security of communication are illusive on Facebook. Therefore, it is highly recommended not to share personal information publicly and avoid doing things online which one would never do in the “real” world.

Conclusion

To conclude, there are many drawbacks of Facebook. Given the high risk of scam attack and lax security and protection of personal information, is becomes obvious that Facebook is not the best place to spend a lot of time. Facebook is so absorbing that it hinders users from doing more enjoyable and valuable activities and often makes them forget about safety. Therefore, Facebook users must learn how to be smart online so as to make informed choices and protect their personal account.
Words count: 1580

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