Social Media On Personal Freedom Essay

Social Media On Personal Freedom Essay

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The use of social media has risen exponentially in the past decade, and with it the impact of its ubiquity has become evident. Although social media can undoubtedly be a positive vehicle for self expression and social interaction, it is largely restrictive of personal liberty and subsequently does more harm than good. Though this applies primarily to the individual, the negative effects of social media on personal freedom extends to interpersonal relationships and can therefore negatively affect groups as well. The convergence of audiences and associated privacy concerns on social media sites like Facebook can result in self-censorship, while the inbuilt filtering systems create a sense of censorship. Data collection and surveillance make it difficult for users to truly feel in control of their own identity and expression of identity. These restrictions, for the most part, are not intended coercively on the part of the social media platforms, and may even come from a place of good intentions. However, the fact remains that these features of social media have the negative consequence of infringing on personal freedoms.
The set up of social media sites such as Facebook means that there is a convergence of audiences that may require self-censorship from the user. The “news feed” feature on Facebook means that any post or activity from a user can be broadcast to anyone they are friends with (boyd 2008, p. 13). This creates a problem through what is known as “context collapse” (Marwick 2013, p. 360). Erving Goffman (1959 cited in Marwick 2013, p. 356) posited that individuals express their identities differently based on context and audience. Social media, particularly platforms that require users to use their “real” identity like Fac...

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...ia has come to play an enormous, potentially inescapable role in our society. However, the potential benefits provided by the allowances of social media in terms of interactivity should not overshadow that numerable harms it can bring about for individuals, and broader society by extension, particularly when it is clear that steps have been taken to obscure these harms from the users of social media. The inbuilt structure of social media that results in context collapse placing restrictions on positive liberty, forcing individuals and marginalised groups to feel less able to freely express themselves. Both content filtering and data surveillance restrict negative liberties by making decisions for users, generally without consent. These restrictive features demonstrate that social media fails to deliver on its potential and consequently has an overall negative impact.

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