BY USING SOCIAL MEDIA WE ARE UNDER CONSTANT
SURVEILLANCE BY NOT ONLY OUR SELECTED ‘FRIENDS’, BUT
THE WHOLE WORLD
DOES, OR SHOULD THE RECENT INFORMATION ON THE LEVEL
OF SOCIAL SURVEILLANCE HAVE AN IMPACT ON HOW WE USE
Social surveillance is the use of Web 2.0 sites like Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare to see
what friends, family, and acquaintances are “up to” (Joinson 2008; Tokunaga 2011).
Surveillance and Social Media
"'Social media' like Facebook or Twitter have become
tremendously popular in recent years. Their popularity Provides
New Opportunities for Data Collection by state and private
Companies, Which requires a critical and theoretical focus on
Social Media Surveillance.” Fuchs and Trottier (2015)
“users cannot control their peers, nor can they control the
intentions of those who control services like Facebook
means that the longer users live on Facebook the more
unprotected their lives are” Fuchs and Trottier (2015)
Security and laws of social media
HEADLINE: “Social media mass surveillance is permitted by law,
says top UK official”
“Legitmate legal target”
Social Survelliance and the law
In winter of 2009 fugitive Craig Lynch posted the below message on social media
Lynch posted this message, little did he know yes he was able to escape the police but however was
remaining in the public eye.
Our control on what social media
“I’d been looking for this robbery suspect. Detectives were at a dead end; I
decide to look and see if the guy has Facebook. He does, completely
unsecured, and had just ‘checked-in’ at a strip club. Search the lot, find a
car matching the description of what he was seen leaving the robbery in.
Turns out to be stolen. Wait for him to walk out, ID him, bring him to the
detectives with their jaws hanging open. Guy admitted to it all. I didn’t
even have to use my A.K.”
Past research and statistics on social
Northwestern University research paper questions regarding social media:
During a year in which Facebook altered its privacy settings accompanied by
widespread media attention, to what extent did the site’s users alter their
How does frequency of Facebook use relate to whether or not people adjust
their privacy settings?
How does confidence in managing privacy settings correlate with the practice
of doing so?
Is gender correlated with either confidence in or the practice of managing
Is general Internet user skill related to either confidence in or the practice of
managing privacy settings?
Bowcott, O. and Ball, J. (2014). Social media mass surveillance is permitted by law, says top UK official.
[online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/17/mass-surveillance-
social-media-permitted-uk-law-charles-farr [Accessed 18 Oct. 2015].
Boyd, D. and Hargittai, E. (2010). Facebook privacy settings: Who cares?. First Monday, 15(8).
Fuchs, C. and Trottier, D. (2015). Towards a theoretical model of social media surveillance in contemporary
society. Communications, 40(1).
Knibbs, K. (2013). In the online hunt for criminals, social media is the ultimate snitch. [online] Digital Trends.
Available at: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/the-new-inside-source-for-police-forces-social-
networks/#ixzz3ogW9Xt8i [Accessed 18 Oct. 2015].
Marwick, A. (2015). [online] Library.queensu.ca. Available at:
[Accessed 18 Oct. 2015].