With several data breaches of social networking platform involving personal users’ data, user’s distrust in social media is obvious. However, a new concept using secure social media platform using blockchain technology is evolving amongst tech solutions providers. Let’s find out how this concept can boost social media users trust…
The Facebook data breach involving Cambridge Analytica have started to change the perception of Facebook users on their online privacy. While some set of Facebook users have been vocal over deletion of Facebook account, others have silently reconciled with the privacy issues. But the fact that technology is always evolving to make social media secure keeps the hope alive for millions of social media users. Over the years, several researchers have working on a new concept involving blockchain technology and social networking media to strengthen the trust of millions of social media users.
The blockchain technology is actually a decentralized and distributed ledger used by cryptocurrencies. But now the same technology can also be used for other Industrial applications, including social networking media. By combining a decentralized consensus mechanism with a private and secure platform for exchanging messages and information, we might be able to finally get connected without the risk of exposing too much to those who own the platforms. In simple words, decentralizing ownership of the social network is the key factor in blockchain technology.
One of the crucial reason why blockchain technology has the potential to become the next stage of secure social networking is that it shifts the cost of trust and co-ordination to a network rather than people.
Technically speaking, development involves a new paradigm for social networks embedded with the blockchain technology, which employs decentralized contracts to motivate trust networks as well as secure information exchange contract. Basically, a blockchain-based sequential algorithm is designed which utilizes virtual information credits for each peer-to-peer information exchange. Then it is validated for the effectiveness of the blockchain-enabled social network on securing the data.
The ‘user’s data’ in the social media networks such as Facebook and other social media providers are centralized and user’s data remain with the owners of these networks. Hence, privacy in Facebook is largely a myth as the user’s data is constantly traded to brands for analytics. The Facebook data breach involving Cambridge Analytica is a classic case of how user’s data is handled casually by various players.
In a social networking app based on blockchain technology is designed and developed, the admin controls are ‘not’ given to the owners. Hence, these decentralized networks would bring about more efficiency, privacy and security gains.
An inherent advantage of a distributed system based on the blockchain is that it eliminates the presence of meta-data on centralized servers, which can be used by third parties for tracking, surveillance, or data gathering. For instance, with conventional messaging systems like Facebook Messenger and Apple’s iMessage, the messages themselves are encrypted from end-to-end. This means no one can read what the user is sending to a friend through the platform. However, the meta-data remains in plain sight. This is what other parties can keep track of. They may not know about the user’s messages, but they can find out that the user and the friend had a message exchange and eventually piece things together from there.
Again, for most users, this might not be bothersome, but there are certain scenarios in which total privacy and secrecy are desirable. For example, those behind government censors can benefit from a blockchain based messaging platform.
In addition, while traditional social networks will require us to login using a valid email or mobile number, a blockchain-based network can provide added anonymity when desired. The requirement for user accounts is completely removed so that addresses will never contain any information that can be linked to phone numbers, email or other accounts.
Social Media Payments
In emerging markets, e-commerce is currently being embraced by startups and venture capitalists. And the combination of social media and ecommerce or social commerce can help accelerate transactions and value. While we have seen payment integration into social platforms like Facebook and Messenger before, it’s probably obvious that a blockchain-based social network has an advantage of native cryptocurrency support.
The purpose of social media and ecommerce is actually two-fold. The active nodes that will actually run the network need some incentive to operate as there are no centralized servers, and this is in the form of cryptocurrency. Users will be able to send coins to each other as a matter of payment mechanism. So, one can be assured of security and privacy using blockchain based social media and ecommerce system.
The Road Ahead
Blockchain technology has already been embraced by a vast range of organizations in the U.S and other countries. In fact, several startups are already engaged in the design and development of social networking media applications which is based on blockchain technology. Blockchain-powered startups can significantly change the environment for social networks, especially if people start shifting toward decentralized networks, which offer better privacy and security, as well as better control over their content. Certainly, the future is bright for blockchain-based startups.
In the long run, the emergence of online social networks along with blockchain technology can be game changer towards trusted social networks. Security and privacy experts believe that the blockchain is the way moving forward, especially for technology companies that wish to leverage on distributed infrastructures. Blockchains minimizes the chances of fraud in commercial and government organizations as they make things transparent and almost impossible to fake.