Three key duties each social media platform should fulfil to make sure the privateness and security of their customers
If the dark and doom stories of the past year have taught us anything, it is to focus on what is really important to us. As our digital footprint grows every day, issues such as fake news, privacy, and security concerns grow too. A 2014 Pew poll found that 91% of Americans believe they have lost control of how their personal information is collected and used. These conversations have only grown in the last few years and social media plays a big role in this.
Social media is certainly a powerful tool – no doubt about it. This is where thought leaders find their voice, unsung heroes are recognized, revolutions ignited. Social media has blurred the lines between virtual and real more than ever – for better or for worse. We have of course seen great things in the hands of the good guys. But the opposite result wasn’t always great.
This brings us to an important point: what is the responsibility of social media?
Rather, whose responsibility does it have? Platform? Consumer? Brands? Regulator? Short answer: each of them! What should everyone involved in this scenario do? I think self-regulation is key. Because not only is it liberating, but much more effective.
1. It is up to the regulator to define the general policy framework, but to give other actors room to self-regulate.
2. Platforms and brands play the most important role – they have to implement guidelines and also trust us consumers to ultimately decide and grow their own digital communities. There is one caveat – we live in a time when laws and regulations regarding data collection, privacy, etc. are not comprehensive in most countries. And since the virtual world knows no man-made boundaries, it is becoming more and more important for platforms to act as gatekeepers.
It is up to the platforms to ensure that community guidelines are set in a way that makes people aware of their responsibilities. This could look like running campaigns that encourage responsible sharing. We are rapidly moving towards technologies that inadvertently make multiple decisions on our behalf. We need to use this to our advantage – use it to implement better governance.
3. As the old saying goes – the consumer is king. It is not for free. It is up to the last person in the value chain to ensure that the quality of content and interactions is self-regulated.
And it is the responsibility of every stakeholder to create a self-sustaining ecosystem in which human rights are respected, criminal activities are prohibited and society as a whole is not harmed.
(The author is the founder and CEO of WeNaturalists.com)
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Posted: Tuesday September 07, 2021 7:00 AM IST