Decoding virtual life’s role in real life


Decoding virtual life’s role in real life

Facebook is always attempting to update its privacy policy, to give its users the best of the time, all the while protecting their identity. The update that was done in order to solve the virtual privacy issues in the year 2010 was quite a big one and it was accepted with mixed feelings. Northeastern University’s Alan Mislove has comments to add on this change and on social media interaction as a whole.


On Facebook’s focus on fixing their privacy issues, Mislove is convinced the problems will continue to arise. Even though they have looked after mechanisms of privacy controls, what they don’t look in is their ‘default’ problems. As many people are not that concerned to change the default settings that Facebook offers, they are left just the way they are. Not many users are interested, and without getting any prompting from Facebook, it is neglected.


While people say that virtual privacy is much different than the offline one, Mislove disagrees. He said, “I haven’t seen any strong evidence that users view privacy differently on these sites versus in the offline world.” The patterns that exist online resembles offline human behaviour and interaction a lot. Mislove here gives the example that while an individual would befriend many people on Facebook, they would only interact with a handful of them, more than the most times known people. There is not much deviation from the pattern – and all would have to agree to this because everyone interacts with known people online.


Mislove uses this information for his research and has dug up some substantial aspects of human behaviour with the help of social networking research. This data can be used, Mislove believes, to prove or discard theories and beliefs of sociology, psychology, anthropology, and political science. Not only that, but it can also help in the designing of such sites and subsequently, the computer systems. Nevertheless, all of this Mislove’s research will ultimately provide us with a deeper and an even richer understanding of how the society functions on a granular level.


Pranjali Wakde

pranjali wakde

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