How Blockchain Can Help Social Media's Privacy Issue

The recent scandal that involved Mark Zuckerberg and his creature, Facebook, pushed us to question and reevaluate how important our data is and how much we care for our privacy.

Social media are businesses and as such have a business model to run which is to collect data from their users and then sell them. So will we ever ‘fix’ this problem? There are solutions of course.

For example, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter could become paid services requiring a monthly subscription and you wouldn’t need anymore to collect users' data. The small issue is that nobody would want pay for Facebook, especially since it has been free for years.

So another potential solution to solve the data issue is to implement blockchain technology to the platform. Blockchain tech involves an electronic distributed ledger, that allows every member using it to make secure and clear transactions. These protocols enable a decentralisation and distribution among the organisations which are implementing it.

Building a blockchain for Facebook would allow people to choose what data they are giving away, the possibility to track them on the distributed and public ledger — since it’s decentralised, no one can modify it — and a major privacy. If we had this technology already on the social network, now we would now exactly what happened with Cambridge Analytica.

It's already in practice as implemented by Eric Ly, founder and CEO of LinkedIn, co-founded HUB — the Human Trust Protocol, which uses blockchain to rise the trust among online users. “The Hub project was created with the goal of solving the problem of virtual trust by allowing users to assess trustworthiness at a distance across applications", Ly said. "We facilitate a distributed ledger where any person can store and access their reputation information on a blockchain, e.g. actual, verified outcomes based on past interactions. In such a system, data is proprietary to a user and only given out by them in specified situations. In other words, by building a digital reputation, every user has the power to decide what reputation information they want to reveal in a particular use case."

Hub is just an angle of the countless applications blockchain could have on a platform like Facebook. In an era when data is becoming more and more of a primary resource, institutions will focus on stricter regulations, as we can see from everyday news. Facebook and other tech giants like Google, Amazon, Netflix et al are aware of the raise of interests even from common people and they will probably look for a solution in the mid-term.

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