There are six questions that are used to analyze the strengths and weakness of an argument (Mayfield, 2007). Once we have the strengths and weaknesses it easy to depict whether an argument is good or bad. The editorial about ‘Sites caught sharing secret data with advertisers’ will be analyzed based on these questions which will prove how this editorial becomes a valid argument. The first question asks whether there are enough reasons in the editorial that support the conclusion drawn from it. When an editorial lacks reasoning for an argument it makes, it loses its credibility.
According to Bangeman (2010), websites such as Facebook and Myspace are sharing user’s personal information with advertisers without their consent. This argument is supported by the fact that the data sharing activity was noticed by researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and AT&T Labs in August 2009. The Second question is concerned with any hidden assumptions that the editor may have made. The author of this news has not made any assumptions. The article provides links that prove any statement that the author has made.
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For instance when (Bangeman, 2010) said “Users have also had a tough time navigating the site's often-Byzantine privacy controls... ” said, he has also made ‘Byzantine privacy controls’ a link to an article that proves this argument. Third, does the article have any central words that show prejudice? (Mayfield, 2007). Slanted words reduce the credibility of the evidence and reasoning provided by the author. The editor has used words such ‘not surprisingly’ and ‘throughout history’ without any valid reasoning that shows a prejudice towards Facebook.
Fourth, one should analyze whether there are fallacies in the reasoning provided by the editor. Although the editor has provided links that give evidence to the statements, the article implies that advertisers such as Google are involved in the crime. The article does not give evidence of whether advertisers are intentionally looking for personal information that is being given to them illegally. Also the author states in the article that Facebook have stopped sharing information after the Wall Street Journal asked them.
There is no evidence to whether these websites have stopped sharing information. Next one should be looking for important information that is missing from the argument. In this editorial although important information that provides evidence to the conclusion is missing, there are links provided with almost every statement that the reader can look at and get the necessary information. Last but not the least the editorial must not have any false or incorrect information.
If an editorial has incorrect information then it misguides the reader and this problem can cause an argument to become invalid. The argument proposed in this editorial does not have any incorrect information because it is proven by researchers. Thus, the editorial is a valid argument because although it contains slant words and fallacies in reasoning, it is educating the reader correctly about a societal issue. The aim of this article is to provide the reader with adequate information so that they know what harm is being caused to them through social websites.
The editorial has fallacies in reasoning in only a few cases which are very minor to the explanation of the issue and so it is achieving its goal by informing the reader about the gist of the issue. References Bangeman, E. (2010, May 21). Sites caught sharing secret data with advertisers. CNN Internationa. Retrieved from: http://edition. cnn. com/2010/TECH/05/21/facebook. shares. data. ars/index. html Mayfield, M. (2007). Thinking for yourself: Developing critical thinking skills through reading and writing (7th ed. ). Boston: Thomson Wadsworth.
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