In 2014, Cambridge Analytica began collecting the data of more than 87 million Facebook users. Different political organizations and politicians used information from data breaches to influence voters’ opinions, including:
- Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who used it in their 2015‒2016 campaign.
- The Institutional Revolutionary Party, which used it in 2018 for Mexico’s general elections.
- Pro-Brexit groups, which used it during the referendum to advance their own agendas in 2016.
Is this the first time something like this happened?
Not even close. Facebook is notorious for allowing third parties to access user data. Social media platforms are valuable to advertisers on the web.
There’s a lot of personal information out there, and corporations are analyzing data to get insights into our behavioral patterns and habits.
They then use that data for targeted advertising. We’ve all been subject to the flood of ads on social networks.
And don’t think that something like this can only happen on Facebook.
On June 5, 2012, LinkedIn was hacked into and nearly 6.5 million user passwords were stolen.
And although LinkedIn has openly admitted that passwords were stolen, it refuses to disclose the exact number of hacked passwords.
But who makes a profit from social media?
Social media networks and advertisers. The fact is that only a small percent of people are able to monetize their social media content.
Yes, brands can increase sales with social media marketing, but even they have to pay for ads and promotions.
Facebook doesn’t create content. People do. Every day, around the world, billions of people are sharing parts of their day-to-day lives, thoughts, blog posts, photos, and videos, and creating valuable content.
But they don’t get rewarded for it.
Is there a better alternative for social networks?
Yes, there is. And this is where blockchain technology comes in.
We all know about bitcoin, and that’s often the first thing that comes to people’s minds when someone mentions blockchain technology.
But bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are just one application of blockchain technology. Blockchain technology offers so many other possibilities, and social networks are one of them.
How does blockchain can help?
When using blockchain technology, there is no intermediary, which gives users the power to control their personal information. Plus, by using smart contracts, blockchain ensures that all transactions are safe and secure.
Transactions can be verified and tracked, thus creating transparency within the network.
And there is more to that.
Social Mining: Power to the content creators
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought that anyone who brings value to a network or a community should benefit from their work.
And that’s what social mining is all about. The idea is pretty simple.
Users are creating valuable content through blogs, videos, livestreams, photos, etc., which allows them to earn tokens.
The more valuable content they create, the more tokens they’ll receive. Mining rewards (tokens) will depend on users’ success as contributors and their influence on the social network.
And people within the network will decide what content is valuable enough to deserve a like or comment. Pure democracy.
Now that we’ve seen how social media can benefit from blockchain technology, let’s take a look at some successful social media platforms based on blockchain.
According to the company website, “Steemit has redefined social media by building a living, breathing, and growing social economy — a community where users are rewarded for sharing their voice. It’s a new kind of attention economy.“
Powered by the Steem blockchain and STEEM cryptocurrency, Steemit rewards users for their contributions to the network with STEEM digital tokens.
Rewards are based on votes of other users. People can earn tokens by posting, voting, curating, purchasing, and vesting.
Indorse is a Linkedln-like decentralised professional network powered by blockchain and built on Ethereum. Indorse uses various methods to verify and validate your skill set and uses IND tokens to reward its users.
Twister is a decentralized Twitter-like software for peer-to-peer microblogging. Messages are sent through the BitTorrent protocol.
Brazilian programmer Miguel Freitas developed twister after learning about the spy programs of the United States National Security Agency (NSA), which led to concerns about how much control a single company can have over our data.
He responded by creating twister.
Just like Twitter, this social network allows its users to follow and unfollow other users, send text messages, broadcast and answer messages, and browse through mentions, hashtags, and direct messages.
In today’s ever-growing digital world, we are relying on an intermediary for privacy and security. Social networks are no exception. But the fact is that the intermediaries we currently use can easily be hacked or manipulated.
That’s why we must find alternatives with no intermediaries, and blockchain technology can solve many of the digital problems we are currently facing.