An empirical investigation on students' online privacy on facebook at North-West University (Mafikeng)
Online privacy is becoming increasingly important in today's world of hyper-connectivity, which is established through online media such as social networks. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedln have massive amounts of personal information about people and have become treasure troves to those who could misuse such personal data. Personal privacy needs to be protected now more than ever clue to the risks of being targeted by third-party entities that aggregate user data. This study sought to add a meaningful insight into key user behaviour when they are online and the potential privacy violations they may be most prone to. Users need to be made aware of the risks of disclosing personal information online as well as the tools that are in place to protect them, especially site privacy policies or legal instruments. Such information may go further in protecting their privacy and safety while they are online. The result of this would be a safer social network experience for all users. This study identified students at the North-West University (Mafikeng Campus) as a suitable population for evaluating user awareness regarding online privacy. The study reveals that users' privacy is only partially protected by default when users create an online social networking account. The findings also show that users are not aware of their privacy rights as they should. Their awareness of privacy laws is little and the Facebook policy is lengthy with most users never having looked at the policy. This has lead Facebook users to operate at a level of trust and not a level of security. Consumers have less privacy protection on the Internet and this has a significant influence on the way these sites should be run. Based on these findings, privacy awareness can be achieved through training and increasing knowledge about how to fully utilise privacy settings on social media. Users must be taught the different ways to secure their personal information.