Information about online privacy and social networking

Written by Jon Ritterbush, Electronic Resources Librarian

The death of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student, and the release of a major motion picture “The Social Network” have brought renewed attention to issues of online privacy and the societal effects of Web 2.0 social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  A number of library resources address these topics.

CQ Researcher published a September 14 update to its report on “Online Privacy”.   As cited in this report, members of Congress are considering regulating online advertising.  As Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois noted, “There are currently no federal laws specifically governing behavioral advertising nor do we have a comprehensive general privacy law” (Marshall, 2009).

CQ Researcher also published this September 17 report on “Social Networking” which includes some interesting statistics about privacy trends among Internet users, as noted in Figure 1 below and originally reported by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (Madden & Smith, 2010).

CQ Researcher chart
Figure 1. Fewer Internet users limit personal information (Clemmitt, 2010).

This webpage on “Online Social Networks” from Opposing Viewpoints in Context also pulls together opinion essays and multimedia files on this topic.   Read transcripts or listen to the National Public Radio broadcasts (September 12, 2010 and September 18, 2010) about Harrisburg University, which recently tested whether its students could go a full week without social media!

Many more resources are available at the Calvin T. Ryan Library.  Please use our Ask Us 24/7 service for assistance in discovering more information on these and other topics.

Cited References

Clemmitt, M. (2010, September 17). Social networking. CQ Researcher, 20, 749-772. Retrieved October 4, 2010, from CQ Researcher Online,

Madden, M. & Smith, A. (2010, May 26). Reputation management and social media. Retrieved October 4, 2010, from the Pew Internet & American Life Project,

Marshall, P. (2009, November 6). Online privacy. CQ Researcher, 19, 933-956. Retrieved October 4, 2010, from CQ Researcher Online,