1. Terms:

Social Network Service - Software for demonstrating your social network (who you know). Many now contain extended capabilities such as blogs and photo albums.

Facebook - A social network service creating an extended network from some form of organization (high school, college, university, corporate, non-profit, military and geographic) and allowing users to demonstrate their own social network from all users.

MySpace - The largest social networking service, setting no boundaries between users from different organizations. Users can create their own pages using HTML and CSS.

2. The Phenomenon:

MySpace was founded in 2003 and Facebook in 2004.

MySpace has grown to receive the 4th most web traffic of all sites. receives the 7th most traffic.

Facebook is valued at over $1 billion. MySpace does not release financial information, but is probably worth more.

3. Privacy Concerns:

Anything posted on these sites is now in the public domain. These sites do allow privacy settings but users often do not use them. Information posted can include phone numbers, e-mail address, street address, screen name, and pictures which are often incriminating. Facebook has been referred to as a stalking tool. Information exposed could become very useful to identity theives.

4: Security Concerns:

The largest concern on social networking sites is child safety. These sites normally have a minimum age requirement of 14 years. Meanwhile, however, there is no realistic way to implement an age barrier on the Internet at this time. Some are truely concerned about child predators and stalkers, while others are preoccupied with the inappropriate material posted and exchanged. Many concerned organizations are posting and distributing materials to promote parental awareness and responsibility.

MySpace could face legal intervention to safeguard users in the future. If this occured, it would set a sweeping precident for all Social networking sites.

4: Other Consequences of Compromised Privacy:

Authorities are beginning to use Facebook as a tool for catching violators. Universities, including NCSU, have enforced punishments on students who have posted photographic evidence of themselves drinking underage on campus. The police have found groups dedicated to crimes committed. Recently, a Columbine-esque school shooting plot was thwarted, because of a participant spilling the beans on MySpace.

Employers too are turning to social network sites in their searches. Though some contend that it is unethical to base employment on someone's personal life, these individuals are putting it all out for the public to see.