Do Social Network Regulations Make Sense?

Sarah Perez has started a great conversation about whether or not social network should be regulated. I’m excited to see the conversation at least started as I have mentioned this before. Sarah quotes an article in today’s Guardian which states that, “Nine out of 10 people think there should be tighter regulation of information on social networking websites” and “89% of those surveyed by the Press Complaints Commission said there should be a set of widely accepted rules to help prevent personal information – such as private photographs – being abused.”

The bottom line is that people believe there should be regulations but in this country at least, very little regulation (if any) has been focused on social networks aside from privacy policies and the creation of policies to protect children. One of the most substantial problems is that people are not aware how their information is being used and how public it really is when they post it online.

Theoretically a similar argument could be made for just about any online service that doesn’t have bank-like security. Can you blame the ignorance of the user for information being publicly displayed? While there is legislation on the table in the European Union and there has been proposed legislation in the United States, nothing has happened so far.

With the recent breach of privacy of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan on MySpace being blamed on a failed Yahoo! API, the issue of user privacy and protection is back at the forefront. The question is: should there be laws that protect the users online when interacting with social networks?