Facebook’s Hearing Highlights Need for Blockchain
Facebook has been in the news lately, and for all the wrong reasons. It was revealed a few weeks ago that more than 50 million users’ information had been wrongly acquired by a company called Cambridge Analytica and may have been used to influence the 2016 Presidential Elections in the US. Questions have also been raised about whether this data was used to influence the Brexit vote in the UK.
As a result of this massive data misuse, Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was asked to appear in a Congressional hearing to explain what happened and what he planned to do about it.
How did it happen?
Facebook makes its money through selling ad space on its platform. To attract advertisers, Facebook provides user information to advertisers which are used to target specific users to increase the impact of those ads. This information is gathered after a person agrees to the Terms of Service – which most of us don’t bother reading.
Now, a few years ago, a Professor claiming to need the data for scientific purposes created a quiz app which he ran on Facebook. He was able to collect more than 50 million users’ data through this app and subsequently handed this data over to Cambridge Analytica.
This was the trigger that actually made people realize how much personal information is shared without their knowledge. Thus, people are now looking for ways in which they can control how much of their information is shared and with whom.
Blockchain Technology to Control Information Sharing
A small group of people started a movement called #DeleteFacebook. However, it’s not that simple. There are 2 billion users on this social media app, and a lot of people are dependent on this platform to stay in touch with their loved ones and relatives.
A much better solution would be the implementation of blockchain technology on social media platforms, according to the industry experts. Blockchain can help in two critical ways. Firstly, information is hashed as well as modular, which means only relevant information would be shared. And secondly, people will learn to take responsibility for their own information as they become more adept at using blockchain based technology.
At the end of the day, Facebook is not the villain – though it may feel like it. It’s a business that needs to make money and it did have Terms of Service in place which people needed to agree to before using the platform.
It is the responsibility of the people using these platforms to educate themselves on how much information they are willing to share and protect their own identities and data.