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Online Social Networking Sites and Privacy: Revisiting Ethical Considerations…

Posted by Editor on March 6, 2009

Peter Fernandez
Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources Librarian
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee USA

Introduction

Before libraries can act ethically with regard to social networking sites, they must first have a nuanced understanding of the potential consequences of these sites. Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook are ultimately motivated by profit, a goal that can undermine user privacy, and that actively relies on the sharing of personal information. In contrast, most libraries in the US have an ethical commitment to patron privacy. Yet libraries are also committed to outreach and social networking sites provide a forum where libraries can create an online presence and spread awareness about their services. These diverse motivations provide a recipe for conflict that is too often ignored. Libraries may be able to appropriate the outreach opportunities of social networking sites while simultaneously maintaining ethical standards; however, responsible appropriation of technology requires that librarians reevaluate their commitment to privacy in the context of social networking sites that have a different conceptual understanding of privacy….See entire post at:  http://libr.unl.edu:2000/LPP/fernandez.htm

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