What is the meaning of “privacy” in the 21st Century?

Recently, I came across an article written by Geoffrey A. Fowler, a writer from The Wall Street Journal, named “When the most personal secrets get outed on Facebook.” It describes the story of two college students from the University of Texas,  Boddi Duncan and Taylor McCormick, having their sexual orientations accidentally published on Facebook for Facebook friends to see.

Both students had joined the Queer Chorus at the university they are attending. The president of the Queer Chorus added both students to the organization’s Facebook group. Software used by Facebook automatically related Boddi’s and Taylor’s new group affiliations to their Facebook friends to view. The president’s ability to add both students to the Facebook group is the result of a Facebook “privacy loophole” that allows Facebook users to add other users to groups without their approval.

The indirect publication of Boddi’s and X’s sexual orientation lead them to receive negative reactions from members of their families. Boddi received “vitriolic messages on her phone, demanding she renounce same sex relationships” and “threatening to sever family ties” (1).

Both students were seeking to keep their sexual orientation private from certain family members and friends while they discovered themselves and explored their undergraduate career.

 His father didn’t talk to his son for three weeks, the younger Mr. McCormick says. “He just dropped off the face of my earth.”
This article demonstrates how important it is to know how to navigate in the virtual world especially as it becomes more prominent in the American culture, and the continuous redefining of “privacy” in the 21st century.



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