“Under the hood”: social networks as a tool of influence
Social networks have become a real bridge between users around the world. The publication of personal information, photographs and other materials has long been a part of creating communication. However, few people think about the negative consequences that social networks can carry..
Facebook and his «friends»
The recent Facebook scandal, sparked by an interview with a former Cambridge Analytica employee, has forced the public to take a different look at data security. According to him, the company, using the vulnerability of the social network API, collected information in order to further use it. By the way, the main activity of Cambridge Analytica is consulting. This means that the analysis of the obtained data could be used for the following purposes:
- work with the involvement of votes;
- impact on public opinion;
- targeted promotion and so on.
However, modern users have long been accustomed to the fact that a certain part of information is collected (for example, working with cookies is not a secret to anyone, moreover, a certain percentage of people are happy to use advertising offers supplied through segment analysis). What is the main problem ?! Everything turned out to be much more complicated: the comrades from Cambridge Analytica, acting outside the framework of the law, analyzed information that Facebook users themselves had no desire to share..
According to some reports, Cambridge Analytica has the results of data analysis of more than 87 million people.
Social networks — key to a man’s heart
Let’s take any standard page of a social network: in addition to the date of birth, city, gender and other standard information, having a small margin of time and desire «unearth» more data, you can easily learn a lot of interesting things about a person. Imagine the scope for work that might open up if you had access to private messages and page analytics. What groups does a person visit, what kind of music he listens to, what time he often comes in. Thanks to this, you can easily compose a psychological portrait of a person, reveal the spheres of his interests, see the circle of communication, social significance. What to do next with this information ?! Sell of course.
One of the brightest sides of the scandal became information that Cambridge Analytica provided consulting services during the campaign of Donald Trump. According to the actual possibilities of using targeted advertising, based on a detailed analysis of information taken from Facebook, such a move may well be considered as the basis for the president’s victory..
It is noteworthy that information processing was carried out through neural networks (which significantly speeds up the process, providing the most detailed data). The results of information processing, falling into the hands of professional psychologists (as happened in the case of Cambridge Analytica), can lead to serious consequences. It turns out that users, without knowing it, themselves discovered all the information about themselves, on the basis of which the targeted impact could be made..
Will the transition to blockchain solve the problems??
Interestingly, this scandal happened at the right time. Namely, during the heyday and popularization of blockchain technologies. It will be extremely difficult for Facebook to regain lost trust. By the way, Mr. Zuckerberg himself partially confessed to collecting information, which was an additional blow to authority. Accordingly, all facets of the situation lead to the possibility «fittings» blockchain as a framework that will allow:
- establish clear boundaries for storing information;
- create the necessary level of protection through decentralization;
- protect users from information distortion.
In theory, everything sounds promising enough, but the problem is different. — Facebook, occupying a leading position in the market, has been carefully building its infrastructure for many years. Step by step, verified conditions were created for users, thanks to which the system became flexible and loved by millions of users. In the case of blockchain, transferring the entire system is theoretically possible, but there are several obstacles:
- long work is required to keep the quality at the proper level;
- instant transfer will become a utopia due to the impossibility of meeting the quality standards developed by Facebook over the long years of its existence.
In the case of an offer of a low-quality replacement, the work will not be able to keep on enthusiasm for long — it will be easier to fix Facebook itself.
However, the last statement has a downside. — social media can be used not only by corporations with interests similar to Cambridge Analytica, but also by cybercriminals who really pose a real threat to you. We are talking about the fact that any social network (yes, yes, and Telegram too) can be hacked. If you have a certain amount of funds and a great desire to get access, hackers from the darknet will be happy to help you.
The Creepy Line – Full Documentary on Social Media’s manipulation of society
Worth looking through «bulletin board» further, and there and then there are proposals to obtain the necessary access to the pages of Facebook, which, by the way, will come out much more budgetary than other social networks.
Based on this, the transfer of the ability to maintain communication through networks to the blockchain — this is a necessity, since in practice today the personal information of each user of such services is under the threat of theft. It is noteworthy that thanks to the possibility of gaining access through hacking, a real market for information trading has formed on the network (you must agree, there are many who want to give a round sum for receiving personal correspondence of some high-ranking official).
«Blockchain — an excellent solution for social networks, for the reason that no one guarantees the accuracy of the data in them. A person can write anything they want on the page, without supporting data. And blockchain can prevent this. He can also record all human activities: what and when he did, what photos he uploaded. This can be helpful for many people. At the very least, you no longer have to worry about your data leaking somewhere. Why? Everyone already has them! Our inner «smart» the Evolution social network system automatically generates a special numerical value for each user «trust index», based on the user’s reputation on the social network, his business activity and competence in his profession. And thanks to the use of Blockchain technology «digitized» user reputation cannot be faked», — says the founder of the smart task management system EvoDesk and the social network Evolution Vyacheslav Zolotukhin.
However, if we are talking about security, blockchain technologies need significant improvement. It is worth remembering at least the hacks of large cryptocurrency exchanges. Accordingly, blockchain technologies in their current form can solve only a part of the problems. Today, in many projects, active work is underway to draw up a security enhancement. It is necessary to take into account the fact that the ideal solution at the development stage is not available..
Social media as it stands today is dangerous. They can be used to form psychological impact, collect personal information. Despite the fact that blockchain technologies can really become the basis for secure social networks of the future, in their current state, this possibility of implementation needs significant improvements..
text: Evgeniya Likhodey, photo: Pexels