Social Media, Privacy and Legal/Ethical Issues (Weekly Assignment #6)

#ProjectX #Privacyissues #Viral #SocialTrends #OnlineIdentities

Example of Success:
Esmée Denters


Privacy has always been a delicate issue, nowadays it is even more relevant than ever. Everywhere around you can hear people complaining about privacy issues, companies are getting sued and personal data is being collected and sold.

The perks of using Social Media are more clear than ever; getting in touch with friends and family, it is easy to share important personal milestones and news items get easily distributed throughout the whole wide web. One example of the positive use of Social Media in combination with Privacy is the easy way to get personal brand awareness. Esmee Denters is one the finest Dutch examples. Esmee is quite a popular singer who get attention when she posted private video’s on her Youtube channel. Video’s of her singing famous songs, her talent got noted by millions of viewers and she got picked up by a record label (Tennmann records). An astonishing way of starting your career. This is the perfect other side of the Social Privacy issues. Esmee is just one example, but when you have some talents the Social behaviour around you can really explode.

Esmée Denters’s YouTube Channel:

How did the success occur:

One example is definitely not enough to sum up the hype Social Media can bring you and what the upside is of sharing your personal life online. Sharing on Social Media provides people with a range of benefits, like maintaining connections, support networks that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, easy access to all the information needed, developing social skills and self-confidence.

Social Media not only benefits just the people but is also a huge asset for companies. This has even expanded to companies that are just created to maintain the Social business for other companies. Companies have an easier access to customer insights, can increase brand awareness, expand their message, increase website traffic, build relationships and much more.

The modern, online world is slowly taking over the brick and mortar stores and a lot of companies have to adjust their kern-strategy just to survive. Both still have their advantages, but a huge shift is clearly noticeable.

Example of Failure:
Project X: Haren

In 2012 a young girl named Merthe made a Facebook event for her 16th birthday, everyone was invited. She forgot to make the event private. A day later the event Project X: Haren was made by someone else (van Es, 2012). This event was referring to the film Project X, about a party that got completely out of hand (IMDB, n.d.). The address: At Merthe’s place, Stationsweg 33. Within a few days thousands of people said they were going to the party that would be held 2 weeks later. Merthe tried to get the event removed, but she was too late (Van Es, 2012). The Dutch media had quickly heard of the story which gave even more attention to the small village (NOS, 2012). This is the moment there was more and more attention for the party. Thousands of people went to Haren on the 21th of September. It got completely out of hand. There were riots, vandalism and a lot of damage. The costs of the damages was 250000 euros, the investigation done into this cost 400000 euros (NOS, 2012).

How did the failure occur:
It started with a silly but small privacy setting on Facebook for Merthe, everyone could she where she lived and when she wanted to hold the party. When it was copied, everyone knew where she lived. The media then spread the news, giving everyone the opportunity to think about going. The news only called it a party, it sounded fun(NOS, 2012). The council and the Mayor of Haren had no idea how to respond adequately, even though this had happened before in the USA, Germany and France (Julen, 2012). Of course, there were hooligans who were already planning to spread mayhem were assisted by the thousands of people who got carried away in a mob mentality. Mob mentality seems to be the main problem when it comes to these sort of parties, people become part of a group and start to feel anonymous. Everyone is doing it, so you don’t feel ashamed to shout along or destroy things (Donley, n.d.). There was a great amount of drinking involved, and the police didn’t know what to do with the group which made it even worse. However feeling anonymous, doesn’t mean you are anonymous. Most of the people attending Project X were filmed, and shared on social media. Privacy doesn’t exist anymore, in this case that meant that most of the rioters could be arrested.

Two Interviews on Social Media, Privacy and Legal/Ethical Issues:

From posting pictures of your new-born, to not even having a profile pic. Why do Chris and Mariëlle do the exact opposite even though they are brother and sister?

Chris, is 29 years old, a nurse and father of 6 month old Rose. His sister is, 31 years old, works for the government and is pregnant. Whereas Chris and his girlfriend posted pictures of the ultrasounds and kept their Facebook friends updated. Mariëlles Facebook isn’t to be found. The only reason she has it, is so that she could easily make online accounts. All of her online accounts do not feature her name, she is untraceable. Chris explains he likes to use Facebook because of his international friends: ‘I really started to use Facebook when I moved in to a student home with a lot of international students, we became friends but they don’t live in the Netherlands anymore. I want to know what they are up to, and the other way around. It is an easy way of staying in touch.’

Mariëlle also has a lot of international friends, she met them through online gaming and they only know her by her screen name. ‘I don’t want all my stuff online, it is so easy to find out everything about someone once they have your name, it is dangerous.’

Marielle dus use streaming website Twitch, which means people can see her while she is playing game. ´They have my face, but not my name, they can´t find me anywhere else so I don´t see problem there.´ Chris likes to share pictures to show his experiences Marielle doesn’t find that necessary: ‘I have my real friends’ phone numbers that is how I can stay in touch with them. I don’t want pictures of my future child online.’

Chris isn’t really worried about the pictures: ‘Yes people can see the pictures, but I would never upload inappropriate ones. When Rose gets older it will obviously be her own choice, but I don’t think it can harm her or me and my girlfriend if the pictures are online.’

Mariëlle thinks otherwise: ‘I don’t want Facebook, or any other social media platform for that matter, to have the right to my own pictures. My close family will get to see them when I show them personally.’

On if Chris has any restrictions to his social media use: ‘I would never put my phone number on Facebook, or show my address, that is most definitely too far or me. And my page only shows my profile pic to people that aren’t my friend I would never accept people I don’t know.

Mariëlle thinks she will never give in to Facebook: ‘I really don’t feel like I need it, and my job would never use it either for communication.’

Chris thinks he will continue to use it the way he is doing it now: ‘Don’t worry, rose won’t get her own profile or anything like that, I like the way it is now and I watch what I do.’

Recommendations on how to deal with those concerns raised by your interviewees:

  • Facebook has the absolute control over your portrait rights. One bizarre example, Facebook can sell the picture of your baby for advertising purposes, keep this into consideration.
  • Facebook keeps the right to change your rights every moment. This means that, even for status updates posted earlier, Facebook can use the data in a lot of ways.
  • Not posting your name online is one thing, but your name is just a shallow part of your profile. Social networks still keep track of your online behavior and create a personal profile.
  • Even though you don’t show your name online, streaming on Twitch is still showing who your are online. Your behavior on Twitch can still say a lot of you, just like your Facebook data.


     Donley, M. (n.d.). Examining the Mob Mentality. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from

IMDB. (n.d.). Project X (2012). Retrieved January 13, 2017, from

Julen, J (2012, September 21). Hoe Project X Feesten eerder uit de hand lipen. Retrieved from:

NOS. (2012, December 21). Project X Haren: Wie krijgt de schuld.. Retrieved from

NOS. (2012, December 21). Schade project X Haren: kwart miljoen. Retrieved from

Van Es, A. (2012, October 04). Project X: Haren: Niet zo janken, gewoon feesten.. Retrieved from

Reach (Out. (n.d.). Benefits of internet and social media. Retrieved from

Copp, E. M. I. L. Y. (n.d.). Social media for Business. Retrieved from

Venture Giant. (n.d.). Online Businesses Vs Offline Businesses. Retrieved from



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