DEFINITION of 'Social Networking Service (SNS) (FB, LNKD)'

SNS stands for “social networking sites.” SNS users create a profile with personal information, photos, etc. and form connections with other profiles. These users then use their connection to grow relationships through sharing, emailing, instant messaging (IM-ing) and commenting.

The first SNS, was started in 1997 and was soon followed by Friendster, MySpace and Facebook (FB). Today there are a wide range of SNS and approximately 75% of Americans have SNS profiles. SNS range from sites where users have general interests to those where users have very specific interests. Successful specialized SNS include Instagram, Twitter (TWTR), LinkedIn (LNKD) and Reddit.

BREAKING DOWN 'Social Networking Service (SNS) (FB, LNKD)'

SNS profiles are very popular across the globe. Facebook alone boasts 1.3 billion users as of 2014. Some users worry about the security of SNS profiles. In addition to potential leaks of personal information, including tax and personal identification information, SNS users who are not careful about their privacy settings find that strangers can track their movements or see questionable photos. This is especially a concern for job seekers whose potential employers might search for their profiles as part of the hiring process.

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