There have been quite a few events recently that have catalyzed consumer interest in both privacy and security. These events are of a different nature on an individual basis, emergent effects are causing increasing concern among social media consumers.
One classification of recent events that have happened is mysterious random and borderline horrifying data leaks by more than one major corporation. Amazon has inadvertently leaked Alexa recordings to strangers across the country. Similar incident at Google where photos were inadvertently shared with strangers. Twitter had a less egregious potential leak of names and phone numbers. These corporations should be recognized for transparency in acknowledging such data leaks and taking corrective action.
Completely unrelated to privacy or data leaks, and far less damaging, is around selling of consumer data and consumer privacy. Facebook in particular has been called out for how much did it collects and potentially sells to advertisers. However, the current political climate has magnified the concern around the management of consumer data especially in our extremely amplified polarization of political politics. In the Trump era, social media consumers arnel worried that this sort of data mining and manipulation could potentially be used to influence an election.
Concern over social media data and privacy is nothing new, some of the more well-known consumer privacy advocates such as the identity women have been publicizing and informing us of these potential issues since 2005 if not earlier. of course in 20018, the Facebook Cambridge analytica scandal ignited much higher level of scrutiny among social media consumers when it comes to social media data management and privacy protocols. Although there is scant of any evidence, the rumors and conjecture swirling around external influences upon social media platform in order to influence the presidential election of further amplified consumer concern.
Conferences are now regularly held in silicon valley, places such as mountain view, where groups of like-minded professionals create consortiums to devise consumer protection and privacy standards. These conferences and workshops have been surprisingly effective, this technology we’re social media platforms are developed with has adopted and implemented much more effective privacy controls such as OAuth standard that was developed in such conferences and working groups. Encouraging future developments are also in progress, such as standard standard standard.
The ongoing and increasing skepticism around social media giants continues to be fueled by such current events. With politics increasingly polarized and partisan, along with increasingly widening wealth gaps, social media consumers feel like they have a lot to be worried about. False information is one of the primary political motivations for concern, and social media platforms are in a tough spot. There is also perceived conflict of interest among the social media giant’s, where in their business models are based on effective advertising to consumers whose data they vow to protect, and at the same time it is the sharing of that data with fuels their massive profits.
Advocating for consumer privacy has brought disparate groups together. Concerns and even resistance to social media coming to the point of quitting major social media platforms, is prevalent across diverse groups. Average Americans including freelancers in the tech world are often early adopters on the way in, and now often early adopters on the way out. Famous people including authors and movie stars are also increasingly vocal over the risk potentials privacy potentials and political risks involved with the reach and potential impact of social media platforms.
Unintended consequences across orthogonal dimensions has created a future of potentially impending dystopia, yet technology is emerging to deliver massive scale social media with security and privacy as batteries included. One reaction for social media consumers is to simply quit under the dystopian pressures. For many though, participating in the development of technical advancement is a more compelling and rewarding path forward.
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