Student blog

My second year in Media & Communications

I've just started the second semester of my second year at UCA, studying Media & Communications. And with the work I've been doing since September, it's instantly clear the step-up from the first year. Last year, while still open to interpretation, had a clear brief and a 'this is what you have to do'-type piece of paper. This year however, the brief, or at least how you execute the brief, was completely down to you.

'You are required to make a 3-minute video to raise awareness of privacy and surveillance in a digital society'. This, along with a deadline was pretty much all we were given, leaving the platform, the opinion, the conclusion, and the direction completely up to how we saw fit. Immediately my mind began racing to see what I could come up with, and despite spinning and flipping the brief over in my head for weeks and weeks, it was only until a month before my deadline, I finally got my brainwave.

Joe Stevens

My video is a screen recording of an anonymous computer user who logs onto their computer and creates a Facebook account. However, the issue is that he steals somebody’s online identity, otherwise known as ‘Catfish-ing’. That person is me. It shows the user’s process of finding my profile, downloading all my images and profile pictures, and then proceeding to steal all my personal data such as hometown, relationship status, and place of education. The found information is then used to create a fake ‘Catfish’ account in my name, add friends from my friend list- pretending that I’d ‘been blocked’ on my real account- including my classmates from Media & Communications.

The second part of the doc then shows 'the user' repeating the process with my classmate Danny’s profile- as he has some of the highest privacy settings on Facebook. For example, you can’t even send him a friend request- he has to add you. Danny’s settings are in direct contrast to mine, which are the default settings. The message being no matter how highly secure you may think your profile is- it isn’t. 

The aim of my film is to raise awareness of the dangers of internet and social media privacy. As a result of watching my documentary, I hope to shock the audience, (namely my classmates) to then reflect upon their own internet behaviour and then to act on it. If I can get one person to change their privacy details of their Facebook page, then I would consider my film a success.

Overall, I was really happy to be given such an interpretive brief and I'm happy with what I came up with. On the broad and ever-enlightening course that Media & Communications is, I can only hope that this is continued into 2016.