By all accounts, the recent revelation by an associate from Cambridge analyatica set the cat among the pigeons on the scope of using the data to influence the decision of voters in the USA and the extent of impact it had on the Brexit decision in the UK. Yes, in the coming years of the digital economy, the scope of data becoming a very costlier commodity is not anymore an imagination but reality. It has started to control the global economy in a big way. Its implications on politics or on social issues, data’ influence would be telling & far-reaching impact on all aspects of one’s life going forward. The Social media corporate giants having its roots in the most advanced economy in the world. They have had sensed this opportunity much earlier than what we could even think of. They have slowly and steadily become a global powerhouse by stockpiling huge repositories of data of its users even to the extent of tracking user’s interest, preferences and even on the way he or she thinks and behave. It is almost certain and proved beyond doubt that companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter have reached to a such an enviable position to control the way they want us to think.
However, we shouldn’t forget the fact that social media companies have created an opportunity and freedom to mobilize public opinion in many ways for taking up various social causes. All these social media platforms allowed free access to all users to open an account with them, but in the background, they have carefully used our details with the help complex data analytics to monitor and mint useful data about the minutest of details every individual’s human activity. Thus this minted and filtered analyzed data becoming one of the most costlier commodities that have become more costlier than the non-renewable resource called “crude oil”. The rising revenues of these social media giants in the last decade have even surpassed the profits of legacy companies and even to an extent made them far richer and powerful than the yesteryears oil-rich countries.
In the era of the fourth aged fourth industrial world, data and its usage are going to be very critical in all aspects of human life, even if we want to protect our privacy from all these apps and platforms, I think it is highly impossible for us to be arm’s length away from all these applications. The Government and administrations also have been devising various means and ways to profile the citizen of their country, So it is going to be very tough for us to keep aloof from all these cluttered environments. Though these social media platforms have become so entrenched part of our daily lives even if you stop using them the trails of data left behind to them is enough for them to track us. Twitter has become one such platform for world leaders to comment and post questions, diplomacy and the foreign relationship between countries has slowly moved into Twitter, political campaigns by the leaders and political parties have started spending more time, resource & money to run campaigns in digital platforms.
Social media companies need to be more accountable
The role of social media companies to influence and track its user’s activity every second is nothing but to surveil and keep us on the edge. This finely tuned data about data gives them superb insights about us that could be used for many purposes in the future as they wish. Even an existing consumer manufacturer after having spent years in the market might not have this well refined and pointed data sources at their disposal to understand their customer’s preferences. The data points derived from us can be used effectively by these social media platforms to target our purchasing behaviour or the latest snaps which get shared on the platform and even the most up to date location. The dynamic data has thus become so powerful that can propel these companies to market and advertise products and twist opinions using various news feeds. It is very clear that until unless the respective governments remain ignorant by not drafting any policies on the scope of data use, it is sure that these powerful media companies are going to take us for a ride. So an effective policy should be in place to make these companies accountable for their unfair trade practices in the future. Every individuals’ decision-making power should get evolved freely without any third party external forces. If we allow a third party to be our conscience keeper then it is imminent that whole systems in the future would get subverted. This would wither a scenario that we would be controlled and manipulate by someone sitting far across the continent and all the information gathered from us would be stored in servers situated in some other country.