The recent media attention focused on Facebook revolves around the company’s use and potential misuse of personal information shared by its users. But in the dust-up, related issues are coming to light, specifically: What will become of social media now that Facebook’s central business model has been called into question? Can the widely popular concept that launched the company (providing free access to users and gaining revenue through ads) survive a surging global interest in data security?
Over the long term, Facebook will likely be compelled to tighten its security protocols and place careful controls over who advertises on the site, how they do it, what they post, and what they say. In fact, as early as January of this year, Facebook began a crackdown on ads promoting cryptocurrency and other high risk financial vehicles. Political content and ads may be subject to scrutiny as well, and the company may need to examine new revenue channels that can better meet user and advertiser needs in a new era of data privacy (for example, the company will likely shift in some measure to a subscription service in which users pay, not advertisers).
But in the meantime, some suggest a ready-made social media solution that can provide the same appealing user experience without the risk of data exposure: blockchain.
The value of cryptocurrencies may have declined somewhat over the past few months, but the blockchain concept of decentralized computing still holds adherents and presents enormous possibilities for the future of currency, commerce, and information sharing.
According to some experts, blockchain may expand into a 10 trillion-dollar industry over the next fifteen years. There is a good chance this could happen, and is not just industry puffery, and despite the recent dip in cryptocurrency prices.
In terms of social media, blockchain technology could allow a user to share a photo with a select group of viewers, monitor who can access the photo, and remove it at any time. The alternative (handing the photo over to large centralized corporation and relinquishing control altogether) seems less appealing by comparison.
An additional possibility arises as well—Can recent shakeups surrounding cyberattacks, political upheaval, concern about the security of social media business models, and new privacy regulations soon to be implemented in Europe collectively lead to a surge of interest in the wider application of blockchain systems?
As always, we’ll be closely monitoring the developments surrounding these issues. If you have questions about data security and the future of blockchain, contact our office and find out how we can help.