This summary is provided by the IPR Street Team based on the original journal article in the Journal for Public Interest Communications by Brandon Carl Boatwright and Candace White
As the largest social media company with over 1.6 billion users, concerns on Facebook’s policies and use of personal data are increasing. This study explored the rhetoric of Facebook’s privacy policies, specifically, how Facebook defines data and how it frames its data policy through public communication.
Through a form of thematic analysis, 44 Facebook newsroom posts were read by authors to examine patterns within the data. After research and extractions, the original data was assembled in non-overlapping themes. They were compared to the original posts and refined to ensure the data displayed clear themes.
Facebook’s current definition of data: the platform collects information that users voluntarily provide
1) Facebook establishes privacy and data collection as an important issue facing the company
2) Facebook justifies data collection through user experience
3) Online news releases are strategically vague in regard to how data are collected, stored, and used
Implications on Practice
Results show Facebook addresses what data the company collects but fails to provide clarity on how or why the data is stored. The lack of transparency from such a prominent company warrants further questioning and concern.
Given the rapidly changing social media industry, it is imperative to stay transparent with users and explain how their data will be used. While big data and algorithms are not inherently bad, it is important to create public policy in order to protect social media users and give clarity on how their data will be used.
Boatwright, B. C., & White, C. (2020). Is Privacy Dead? Does it Matter? How Facebook Frames its Data Policy Through Public Communication. Journal of Public Interest Communications, 4(1), 78-101. doi.org/10.32473/jpic.v4.i1.p78
Location of Article
The full study can downloaded here, for free: https://journals.flvc.org/jpic/article/view/114553
Bri Grall is the Sunshine District Ambassador for PRSSA. She is a Flagler College senior majoring in strategic communication and digital media production. Follow her on Instagram @brigrall.