The IT Law Wiki


Social media

refers to Internet-based applications that enable people to communicate and share resources and information.[1]
is an umbrella term that encompasses various activities that integrate technology, social interaction and content creation.[2]
web-based tools, websites, applications, and media that connect users and allow them to engage in dialogue, share information, collaborate, and interact.[3]
[is] a form of interactive online communication in which users can generate and share content through text, images, audio, and/or video. Social media can take many forms, including, but not limited to, micro-blogging sites (e.g., Facebook, Google Plus, MySpace, and Twitter); forums, blogs, customer review Web sites and bulletin boards (e.g., Yelp); photo and video sites (e.g., Flickr and YouTube); sites that enable professional networking (e.g., LinkedIn); virtual worlds (e.g., Second Life); and social games (e.g., FarmVille and CityVille).[4]
[is] an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or online accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.[5]


Social media "can take many different forms, including internet forums, social blogs, wikis, podcasts, photographs, video, rating sites and bookmarking. Technologies include: blogs, photo-sharing, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, and crowdsourcing, to name a few."[6]

Social media can be accessed by computer, smart and cellular phones, and mobile phone text messaging (SMS). The use of social media is an evolving phenomenon. During the past decade, rapid changes in communication as a result of new technologies have enabled people to interact and share information through media that were non-existent or widely unavailable as recently as 15 years ago.[7]

"Social media websites are oriented primarily to create a rich and engaging user experience. In social media, users add value to the content and data online; their interactions with the information (e.g., both collectively and individually) can significantly alter the experiences of subsequent users."[8] "Social media creates the illusion of face-to-face communication even as it enables strangers to share information."[9]

"The Pew Research Center estimated that in 2019, 72% of U.S. adults, or about 184 million U.S. adults, used at least one social media site . . . [u]p from 5% in 2005. Use varied by age, with the highest percentages using social media being among the 18-29 year old and 30-49 year old cohorts. Another report estimates that in January 2020, there were roughly 230 million social media users in the United States of all ages (13 is a standard minimum age to register an account on many social media sites), and that users subscribed to an average of roughly seven social media accounts. social media users report visiting the sites weekly and many report visiting the sites daily."[10]


Social media sites are susceptible to a number of cyberattacks, including spear phishing, social engineering, and Web application attacks.


"There is a symbiotic relationship between social media and disclosure of personal information; indeed, the business model for social media is dependent on the disclosure of personal information by users. To access the benefits of social media, users need to make a trade-off between the benefits of participation and disclosing personal details online. When sharing personal information, users are more likely to trust individuals rather than organisations."[11]


See also[]