Social media data is in a complete disarray. We are, as I keep saying, in the Wild West.
There is a lot that needs to happen! – First, all the issues of the data chaos and the privacy issues that we see on social media can be resolved through intelligent and thoughtful solutions.
Remind you, we had similar issues in the 90s with the rise of digital media distribution. The main issue was this: who are the owners of the copyrights of the digital audio and video files? We ended up putting all that information such as who is the composer, performer, director, writer, agent, publisher, and studio into the header of the media file. From there it communicates to a server that is allocating the various percentages of ownership and copyrights of the various owners, and respective royalties and cash can be distributed from their accordingly. What seemed impossible to some actually had an elegant solution.
We have a very similar situation right now here within social media. Social media consists of mainly text, photo, and video. Following the general idea is that the creator of any of such media is the owner of its copyright, then that should be manifested in those files. So, we need to establish – are you the owner of what you post? And, if so, what does ownership mean?
In fairness to Facebook, it already allows you as the user to define parameters of how much information you want to share and how. What concerns many users though – is whether their comments and what they share is “out there” for advertisers to game the consumers. In other words, it’s not the happy world of, “I want to be targeted for advertising geared to me, to make my life wonderful.” That is to say, “Spare me from your kindness.”
Yet, we cannot be blind to the services that social media are providing, and there has not been a membership fee. So, one way or another, you pay. Let me be clear – social media has challenges and problems, there are things to be concerned about. But social media are a net plus.
But surely, we need to distinguish, in some way, between public posting and private messaging.
In the United States, people want to feel secure against government intrusion. That’s why we have things like search warrants. But a search warrant is not needed if something is seen in plain view. Is public discourse on social media “in plain view”? Yes, it is. One could argue private messaging is somewhat different.
But are we talking about government? What about social media conglomerates themselves? Or affiliated firms?
Thus, all of this is not simple. All I am saying is whether it is a social media conglomerate, or a third party that monitors social media for the conglomerate, but to serve the public interest, defined narrowly and yet within consensus, we must have standards, rules, criteria, protocols, and I would go so far as to say morals and ethics. This approach is to deal with privacy, and more.
We can all agree that if someone is a danger to himself or herself, or to others, we need to find a way to help. I’m searching to apply that standard and seek a balance to safeguard privacy and yet seek something better than all the chaos on social media, with implications for anti social behavior, and I mean those words “social behavior” in the serious sense, not that someone says something with which I disagree. I think we could all agree that someone inciting to riot is anti-social, to say the least. Someone who says he or she is going to go out and engage in a violent act is, to say the least, anti-social.
I’m working on the profound challenges to find that third way – not the social media conglomerates, and not the government – but some middle ground.