One of the key highlights that I talked about on what you expect in the social media front for this year is the issue of privacy. A relatively huge chunk of the population have some sort of social media account where they post something about themselves. This data is crucial and if someone gets a hold of it, it would literally mean losing your identity online.
The data you publish online is very vital for the social media companies and for other third parties. For social networks, it is used to personalize the experience for you by feeding you with your interest and relevant ads. Third parties like hackers will try to get your information so as to steal your online identity. Governments and law enforcement agencies will try to get a hold of this data so that they can learn more from you.
Specifically on governments and law enforcement agencies, they have embraced social media to educate the public and handle queries from citizens. However, if they were looking for a certain perpetrator, they have used social media extensively to get more information about the person. This means that social networks have grappled with lots of requests from governments and law enforcement agencies so that they can use that information to accomplish a mission.
This has forced social networks to come up with ways to inform their users of these requests. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer gave an update of a notification that users will see if they suspected “state sponsored attacks” were being made on your account. In Twitter’s case, users posted screenshots that they received from the company about these “government sponsored attacks.
Yahoo too joined the club last month and now it is Reddit thanks to a post made by the CEO on the Announcements subreddit. “We receive many requests from law enforcement and governments” Reddit’s CEO says in the post, “we take our stewardship of your data seriously, and we know transparency is important to you..” He also took the opportunity to announce that the company will release a Transparency Report like the one Facebook released a while ago that will be available in March.
It is good social networks are taking efforts to make sure that our personal data is safe online and the development in the issue of privacy online will still be a hot one in the new year.