Social media data are in complete disarray. We remain in the Wild West. But do we need a new sheriff in town?
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. And this needs to be done in such a way so that social media play a constructive role in social interaction.
In short, we need full disclosure. Over the years, even decades at this point, we have people signing “I agree” to long treatises of conditions. They don’t read them, and if they do, they don’t understand them. We need short, plain English explanations for consumers. And perhaps you don’t agree to a whole package, but accept or reject certain items. Or you pay for something if you don’t accept an advertising tie-in. We’re already seeing this in those who pay extra not to see adds when they go to a news media outlet.
But the question is, do you “own” what you say?
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 digital audio and video files? Or should we say owners of the copyrights of them??? 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 communicated 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 consist 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 ownership should be manifested in those files.
Another issue is how to reconcile privacy with what I call the public interest. That’s why I’ve worked to develop a way to separate public information on social media from private communications, and be able to engage with the public information on social media to insure against anti-social acts, by which I don’t mean offending someone else or hurting someone’s feelings, but where a person is a danger to himself or herself or to others. This is the standard I am defining.
Of course, this does not foreclose establishing standards and protocols that deal with acknowledged and even dangerous abuse, for example, how do we constructively engage and deal with how social media interacts with children, as opposed to adults. That’s another topic.