Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
ECIS2020 Cake & FB.pdf (290.51 kB)

The cake and Facebook: A case of Social Media, Privacy and Power

Download (290.51 kB)
conference contribution
posted on 2023-09-24, 21:48 authored by Valerie HooperValerie Hooper
In many countries privacy is regarded as a basic human right that is accordingly enshrined in privacy legislation. However, adherence to privacy legislation is often confounded by the means of transmission and storage of private information, and factors such as power. The arrival of social media as a potent online communication means in 2004 has brought privacy legislation under the spotlight in many countries. We examine a noteworthy case dealing with privacy breaches revolving around the use of a social medium in New Zealand. The case was triggered by, and centred on, the photograph of a cake which was posted on Facebook. The substantive issues revolved around privacy, and the power relationships and the exercise of power by executives and staff of NZCU Baywide. However, it was the differing perceptions of social media, particularly Facebook, that played a pivotal role. The case and its analysis demonstrate how important it is for organizations and individuals to understand the relevant privacy legislation and how the adherence to the legislation can be severely confounded by factors such as the medium of message transmission, in this case social media, and power. This case provides some valuable insights into the interplay between people, social media, and power. It has also given rise to the recent revision of the New Zealand Privacy Act to accommodate the various potentially confounding aspects and influences of social media.


Preferred citation

Hooper, V. (2021, January). The cake and Facebook: A case of Social Media, Privacy and Power. In 8th European Conference on Social Media, ECSM 2021 (pp. 82-89).

Title of proceedings

8th European Conference on Social Media, ECSM 2021

Publication or Presentation Year




Publication status


Usage metrics

    Conference papers


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager