Horizontal surveillance, mobile communication and social networking sites. The lack of privacy in young people’s daily lives
Issue Date: 
2020
Publisher: 
Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
ISSN: 
2386-7876
Citation: 
Hermida, A. (Alberto); Hernández-Santaolalla, V. (Víctor). "Horizontal surveillance, mobile communication and social networking sites. The lack of privacy in young people’s daily lives". Communication & Society. 33 (1), 2020, 139 - 152
Abstract
Social networking sites and mobile communication have progressively encouraged the proliferation of certain surveillance and control practices employed by users on a daily basis. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram and devices such as mobile phones have normalised forms of horizontal surveillance, which have begun to be accepted by citizens as the norm. Thus, this paper examines a series of lateral and social surveillance practices that demonstrate a more deliberate and reprehensible behaviour on the part of users by focusing on the conflicts arising from the lack of privacy and control and the deficient management of inappropriate or annoying content in the social networking site environment. To this end, 311 students of the Universidad de Sevilla aged between 18 and 26 were asked to fill in a questionnaire. The survey results show that the majority of the respondents acknowledged having felt being spied on social networking sites, as well as having ended up at loggerheads with acquaintances as a consequence of having shared personal content with others. Lastly, it is apparent that, despite present concerns about the absence of privacy and control and inappropriate or annoying content, users believe that these are risks well worth running for the sake of sharing on social media.

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