Traditionally transparency is referenced with news media to inform the public what and how information is gathered from various sources. Transparency in social media especially pertaining to blogging and covering a product, brand or service means that specific website is giving you an honest non-biased opinion or truth when I write or cover a particular topic. Online this can mean that, a person is who they say they are, and that reason for posting or having a discussion about a product, brand or service does not have any hidden agendas. In 2009 Facebook exhibited how un-transparent they were when they changed their privacy policies, and claimed to own the rights to content posted on Facebook, including photos. After a huge public backlash Facebook was forced to apologize to its users and create a group dedicated to future policy changes. This example is the reason our book states many companies dislike transparency because, “transparency often works against strategy making and planning by companies, as they do not want to give away secrets to competitors (Pavlik 276).
I believe transparency with social media is extremely important because without it, major companies or the government can be viewing and using our personal information without our knowledge, which would be a complete infringement on our rights. Our textbook also mentions without transparency sometimes astroturfing, where “companies create a fake movement or campaign so that it looks like it was created by concerned citizens as a grassroots movement”, can occur (Pavlik 275).It is also important to be aware of transparency issues, so you know if the social media you are using has the ability to use your information or if they are actually not even who they say they are, like with astroturfing.
I also believe that online transparency is more important online versus the offline world because content can be more easily shared and distributed. Therefore if your personal information get into the wrong hands of major corporations, they can share or do with it what they want very quickly and easily. Also it is easier to change things online like rules and policies, without the public catching on as quickly, just like it happened in 2009 with Facebook. Therefore this makes an individual much more exposed and at risk to be taken advantage of, which makes online transparency much more important than in the offline world.