Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts






social media, social identity, privacy, Facebook


The title of my paper comes from an interviewee's response to a question regarding one of Facebook's controversial advertising policies. Much of the behind the scenes information about this website is relatively unknown. Facebook's recent explosion as the world's largest online social community (at around 200 million users, it is now more popular than MySpace) demands a modern academic analysis, as it is redefining traditional notions of identity and privacy. Furthermore, these concepts and their subsequent manifestations in an online setting lead us directly into specific examples in our case study of Facebook, including the changing nature of online advertising as well as surveillance issues. I will show how users value their social identity online over notions of a forensic identity, demonstrate the contrast between reported and actual user privacy concerns, and examine the blurring of marketing and social networking. Recent changes to Facebook's User Terms Agreement have made it headline material, and the time is ripe for an analysis of the world's most important online community. Utilizing recent media coverage of specific Facebook programs and policies as well as theoretical literature, concepts of identity and privacy will be examined as they pertain through specific instances regarding Facebook, and their resulting consequences. The last chapter is set up to explore the controversial topic of the overall commercialization of Facebook.