Is Social Media Too Invasive?

Image Source: eleks.com

Whether you are on a smartphone or your desktop at the office—you are just taps and clicks away from your favorite social media platform. Regardless of your age—the temptation to click and engage is all too compelling.

Humanity has always had a need to connect and communicate. From the town crier, to the reformer Martin Luther posting 95 thesis on a church door, or the early days of the Internet digital Bulletin Boards (BBS)—we desire to share our thoughts: Either for the good of society or simply just to talk about our hobby.

With today’s social media, the ability to communicate and engage in a conversation has evolved on a global scale. According to Allen Taylor, the Pew Research Center reports that an estimated 60% of adults in developed economies use social media. For emerging economies, just over half, 53%, of the population use social media. And—according to Statista, says Akash Takyar, CEO for LeewayHertz,  the monthly global user base is expected to reach 3.02 billion by 2021.

Distrust

Despite the statistics, and while “social media is not going anywhere, there’s no shortage of individuals who have noticed the toll that social media has taken on their lives,” writes Sam Mire.  He notes that since the inception of social media platforms—the number of American users with at least one social profile declined in 2018 due to social media fatigue to mistrust in the platforms’ creators and hosts.

Privacy has become a real concern.

Privacy and Freedom of Expression

According to Taylor, the rise of the volume of data usage itself “corresponds to the rise of social media itself along with the technology that allows for invasive corporate espionage.”  Beyond the ability of social media to connect people, platforms such as Facebook and Instagram collect a tremendous amount of data from each user.

“Every interaction on centralized social media, including private messages, is accessible to those in charge of moderating these platforms. Among other things, this poses a severe threat to the users’ privacy,” says Takyar.

If you’ve watched any of the congressional hearings, undoubtedly you’re aware of the concerns of the Senate with privacy and political bias that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, have been faced with. Content posted on social media is being used for political purposes and gains. As such—“this is a major deterrent to the democratic ideals of freedom of speech and expression.”

As data collection has skyrocketed—so too have the instances of data breaches, such as the “case involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook”. Because of the need for greater security, blockchain social media, is “rapidly expanding to provide better security,” adds Takyar.

Thus—between the drive to collect marketing data on consumers’ wants and needs that can be sold, and political biases with the potential for abuse of personal data for political gains—there is a growing need to develop alternatives that allow the consumer to continue to communicate and share ideas while maintaining their privacy and freedoms so cherished by the American population.

Voices are emerging with a demand for less spying and personal data breaches in social media

What is Blockchain Social Media?

Industry today has turned to exploring use case applications of blockchain for the ability to offer features conducive to their business objectives such as security, trust, and immutability. It also has the ability to operate in a decentralized model allowing access to data among disparate parties. The same attributes can be applied to social media platforms.

Takyar defines blockchain social media as “decentralized platforms, built on top of the blockchain technology that allows the development of applications and smart contracts.”

Emerging Blockchain Social Media Platforms

Because blockchain is decentralized, it can ensure social media platforms greater privacy, and enable users the right to express themselves freely.

Steemit.  This is a platform built on top of the Steem blockchain, and it has emerged as one of the top blockchain social networks. Steemit contains elements similar to Facebook and Reddit. One attractive feature allows Steemit to automatically distribute rewards to content writers in Smart Media Tokens (SMT). This platform is “suited for writers and content creators, who want to monetize their content.” Users have earned up to $22 million.

 

Diaspora*. Stylized as diaspora*, it is a platform that allows users to control their experience. You may join, host, and interact in pods of your choice. It is decentralized with ‘pods’ on a network of distributed servers—independently owned and run—thereby ensuring a truly decentralized network. None of the data is stored on a central server. Diaspora* gives the user freedom. Users are not required “to reveal their true identity.” The user may choose to provide personal data if they wish. And—users enjoy privacy where they can “fully control their data and share it upon their sole discretion”.<

Minds. This is a zero-censorship network. It is one of a few “revolutionary digital platforms where the user owns absolutely all of their data.” Minds is a fully open-source system. It offers users flexibility and enables users to leverage the platform according to their specific needs. Traditional social media users will enjoy many of the same features as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. As a proponent of free speech—Minds is experiencing growing popularity where it has already accumulated a user base of over 2 million.

Image Source: disruptordaily.com – The future of decentralized social media.

Conclusion

There are no guarantees for Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. So long as there is a free market for ideas and products—there will always be a competitive drive to create a bigger, better, cheaper mousetrap. Blockchain technology for social media promises to disrupt the current centralized social media status quo.

 

Samuel H. is an author, writer and speaker with over twenty years in the educational technology sector.

Contact Samuel

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