Cambridge Analytica – The Future of Social Media

Cambridge Analytica - The Future of Social Media

Cambridge Analytica – The Future of Social Media

Cambridge Analytica - The Future of Social Media

Facebook is dead.  Everyone is deleting their Facebook profiles.  You are not safe.  These are the words that I was hearing when I attended a meeting last Thursday morning, and then again at a networking event on Friday.

Is this really such a shock?

There are two thoughts that immediately crossed my mind when I heard the news about Cambridge Analytica.

Thought #1 – What a great opportunity to educate consumers

Everyone is blaming Facebook, but in my opinion, the responsibility lies with the consumer.  If a Facebook user has not locked down their personal profile, if they decide to list all posts as public, if the individual decides that they want to complete a quiz and then share the results with friends, then they should be prepared for this information to be farmed.

Your information will be farmed.

Facebook needs to understand your interests and your habits, which they then use as leverage so that advertisers can market to a set demographic.  Facebook is a business.  Facebook has a primary responsibility to its shareholders to make money.  Money is generated via advertising streams. Advertisers will only spend money with any form of media if their campaigns are placed in front of their audience.  And I am not just talking about Facebook.  Look at the detailed information that we add to all social networking sites.  Look at the information that is gathered by Google, or our buying habits by Amazon.

Even smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home or the Apple Home Pod are always ready to listen so that we can be marketed to at a later date.  One minute you are talking to your partner in the kitchen and ask Alexa about the latest Adele tickets, and the next time you are on Facebook you see adverts for the Adele concert.  It is not a coincidence.

What is wrong with people having the data that we provide?

I know that I will probably get lots of comments about this, but is it really that bad that these companies are gathering data about things we are actually interested in?  Wouldn’t you rather see adverts that are tailor-made for you and your interests rather than seeing a load of rubbish that is completely irrelevant?

The bottom line is that as consumers we simply need to understand that anything we say or do that involves the internet or GPS will be used.  It’s a bit like a car, if you don’t put fuel into your car then it won’t run.  If you don’t feed the internet with content then you will not be fed with adverts.

Thought #2 – It’s about time that this industry is regulated

I truly believe that we are heading for a shift in legislation and that Cambridge Analytica is a great catalyst for implement regulations in the industry.  When you look at all other media channels such as TV, Radio or even newspapers, they all have strict regulations.  How can the largest social media sites in the world not be regulated?

The government needs to lay down the law and draw up some strict guidelines on what is acceptable.  In the UK we are about to embark on new privacy legislation (GDPR in May 2018) which has put all businesses into a spin as we are going through databases, and making sure that our processes and procedures are compliant.  The UK government certainly cares about the privacy of individuals, so perhaps it is about time that we start to look at standard regulations for social media sites, blogs and other online channels.

What do you think?

So I have had my 2p’s worth and I now invite you to have yours.  Are you protective of your data?  Do you think that social media sites such as Facebook should have the default of “private” profiles rather than “public” profiles?  Do you think that we should be more educated about the dangers of the information that we are adding to our online profiles?

I welcome your comments.

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