In a previous blog article, I mentioned how social media was being increasingly levered by corporate interests, as users were facing complex privacy options and more intrusive advertising.
I now want to address the affect of America's Prism surveillance system and possible implications to the social media business.
For Facebook, this is particularly damaging, as it undermines the credibility of their already unpopular privacy settings. There are still many fundamental questions that need to be answered. The Prism documents refer to data being directly acquired from internet companies. Facebook and Microsoft both deny culpability, quoting their stats about formal information requests. While it is possible to intercept information between computers, it becomes far easier if they are complicit in the operation.
Facebook has been troubled by pro-child-abuse pages popping up. At times it has appeared that Facebook does not have the resources to bring them down fast enough. Cyber bullying is on rise, too. Children across America are being shot in school. These are problems that Prism would be excellent at confronting. It is clear that from Facebook's continuing problems and the recent escalation of shooting in schools that the NSA are not protecting children in the USA.
This suggests to me that they are either not getting the results they wanted, or they are only picking projects that cannot be traced back to Prism.
So if prism isn't being used to improve the social media experience, suspicions will run high as to the intentions of the NSA. This does not bode well for the reputations of the social media providers that fall within Prism's reach. It also asks questions about the increasing militarising of the internet.
Will people turn away from social media? Do people want to be monitored 24/7? What are the guarantees that prism won't be used for 'special political interests'? Two things are clear - 1. It is a tough time to be a social media provider 2. The full truth has yet to come out.