Social media certainly plays a big role in the everyday lives of people. In fact, over 79 percent of the US has a social media profile of some kind, according to data provided by Statista.
The massive use of social media to connect with friends and family, as well as the lead generation value social has for B2C and B2B businesses, the user data has become valuable.
Unfortunately, the use of user data via social networks has come under fire. And Facebook has become and continues to be a big part of the user data usage problem. Remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal?
“Lawmakers have also criticized the company’s lax sale of political advertisements to purchasers literally paying with Russian rubles,” Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic said. “Political ads are not regulated as closely online as they are on the TV or radio.”
The bad news is that Facebook and other social media networks don’t seem too concerned with user data security and user rights online. The good news is that other social media platforms and businesses are popping up to create a more positive and private online social space.
Facebook Seems Obsessed with User Data
You would think Facebook learned its lesson after Cambridge Analytica. But the social media giant with over $220 million users continues to give away user data.
Toward the end of 2018, Facebook was accused of giving away user data to Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, and Microsoft in exchange for even MORE user data. Facebook seems to be obsessed with user data, like an excel sheet waiving, Internet scraping Golem.
The privacy issue will most likely not go away. Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for a billion dollars in order to compete with Snapchat. And Mark Zuckerberg will want a return on that investment, probably in the form of user data. Snapchat and Instagram are neck and neck in the US, according to a Smart Insights report.
Facebook also has Messenger, a social messaging platform that could potentially be a user data goldmine due to the number of chatbots launched and used on the platform to communicate with consumers.
There’s Still Hope for Social Users and Businesses
All is not lost for social users and businesses that care about user privacy and creating a positive online experience. This could be the moment in the digital age when users take back control of who gets their online info and how it’s used. The following are a few of those trend setters.
Dopel is a social platform that connects like-minded people, or doppelgangers, socially with little to no effort online. And all interactions are private and positive. You can find new people, places, and businesses you want to connect with, share info, and follow. Dopel simply eliminates the noise so users can be truly social.
Steemit is touted as the first social media platform built on the blockchain, utilizing blockchain technology for a truly private experience. This may seem like going off the grid a bit, but if you and your friends make a collective decision to communicate online privately, Steemit could be worth the switch as a whole or a great substitute to mainstream social channels.
Basic Attention Token (BAT)
This is one for the business inclined tired of wasting money on Facebook ads with little lead generation, or conversions to show for it. Basic Attention Token, or BAT, allows businesses to reward consumers for sharing their personal information with them, as well as accepting ads from them. This reward is paid using BAT digital currency. BAT runs on the Brave Browser, which is another way to enjoy a private and secure online experience.
What’s Your Social Plan?
There is very little doubt Facebook and other social media networks will continue collecting and leveraging user data for business gain. That is the whole premise for these types of businesses. But users do have a choice in today’s social digital age. There are ways to protect your personal and browsing data online. One obvious way is to simply stop using social media.
Emma Fierberg, a journalist actually did this last year for one month. And her results were pretty amazing. “As the experiment went on, I started to feel like there were extra hours in the day, like I was given this gift of reading time and cooking time and exercise time,” Fierberg said. “I realized that once I’m tired, I just surrender. I just go to bed. It’s, like, whatever.”
For those who are simply hooked on social, there are new platforms and businesses popping up with the sole purpose of providing a positive and private social communication channel for people and businesses alike. The choice is yours. You can ultimately decide who you connect with online and who you share your information with. What’s your social plan?