Privacy in Social Media

19 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2020

See all articles by Andrei Marmor

Andrei Marmor

Cornell University - Law School

Date Written: February 26, 2020


This paper is about the state of privacy in social media. Most people’s immediate concern about privacy in social media, and internet platforms more generally, relate to data protection. People fear that information they post on various platforms is potentially abused by corporate entities, governments, or even criminals, in all sorts of nefarious ways. The main premise of this paper is that that concerns about data protection, legitimate and serious as they may be, are not, mostly, about the right to privacy. Privacy is about control over the presentation of the self, not about protection of property rights. From the perspective of privacy as self-presentation, I argue that social media is, generally, very conducive to privacy—in fact, often too much so. The main tension in the domain of social media is between privacy and authenticity: social media enables a great deal of privacy at the expense of truth and authenticity. But the medium also comes with dangers of exposure that carry serious risks to privacy, potentially undermining peoples’ ability to control what aspects of themselves they present to others. Privacy in social media is a mixed bag, pulling in opposite directions, none of them free of serious concerns.

Keywords: privacy, social media, authenticity, public discourse, concealment and exposure, big data

Suggested Citation

Marmor, Andrei, Privacy in Social Media (February 26, 2020). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-10, Available at SSRN: or

Andrei Marmor (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States


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