Privacy and Social Media: The Antitrust Battle
Tech firms such as Facebook and Twitter have for a long time been sources that have connected people together. But, with a lot of sensitive data being shared, the applications have recently come under the scanner of other organization and governments.
Technology has been one element that has helped in bringing changes into the lives of people by making different processes simpler and easier. With the invention and advancement of smartphones and laptops, it has become easier to not just stay connected to a certain set of people, but the entire world. The online world has witnessed the development of multiple websites and applications that work on providing connections to the world.
The Advent of Social Media Websites that Transformed into Leading Tech Firms
When computers became a part of even common households in the world, a need to communicate with other people located in different parts of the world arose. This led to the invention of electronic mail or e-mails which where one of the earliest modes of communication that wasn’t disrupted by geographical boundaries. Over the century, with each passing year this medium of messaging went from emails to instant chats, from chats to chats with additional features such as the option to share images and further into applications. These apps were made keeping in mind that they should be easily accessible and need to be able to implement multiple changes. This led to the widespread use of applications via Smartphones among which some of the most popular ones are, Facebook, Twitter, Google.
Facebook and Twitter both had similar journeys where they initially started off as websites and then developed mobile versions of the same. Facebook was initially introduced as a website to connect students of a university with one another to help them share thoughts or even help with their college projects. It soon expanded into a global organization and today has every feature built into it. This includes audio-video calls, a personalized marketplace, a form of directory to look up any person, store or organization, as well as a job portal.
Twitter on the other hand was started as a portal to share thoughts in a shorter form using just text. It initially allowed phrases or sentences limited to just 140 characters which over years has shifted to 160 characters. Though difficult, it picked up pace and added a change into the social media industry.
Apart from the above, Google has been at the centre of this technological evolution over the years and is an integral part of the internet. As they say, have a question, ask Google. It contains answers to every query which has helped in sorting several issues for people.
When Did the Problems Arise?
With this rapid expansion and with different individuals involved in not the created but utilization of the application, some features are bound to cause a furore. Facebook has been slowly emerging as a centre of controversies and one of the main reasons for this is issues with regard to privacy. Though the website and application are said to maintain utmost privacy there have multiple instances of data leaks. Apart from the data, due to the enormity of the website, anyone and everyone has achieved the freedom to express their viewpoints irrespective of whether they are distasteful or not. The website also came under the scanner for promoting and propagating hate among the diverse communities present in the world today. Though it stands on neutral grounds, the company is known to provide platforms for expressions of political thoughts by parties themselves which has also caused issues from time to time.
On the other hand, Twitter has been witnessing itself being dragged into controversies due to opposing views by people as well as for being selective in terms of giving people freedom to speak. In several regions, the app is known to have blocked people for not supporting certain topics of discussion which have further led to disruption peace among communities.
These issues have primarily come up due to constantly changing terms and conditions which may sometimes come across as biased.
What Could Happen in the Future?
Though the websites have been facing issues, governments of various countries have been trying to implement their own social media laws that apps the websites will need to comply in order to keep their operations functional. Though these rules demand transparency from the application about their terms and other internal conditions, the companies have been trying to maintain their stand.
Over the next couple of years, social media is still expected to thrive and even though it has its drawbacks, the social media industry has also played the role of a messiah over the years. Ever since the pandemic struck, applications such as Twitter have been one of the main elements that have been providing accurate information. They have also helped share information regarding the availability and location of the vaccines that were launched recently. Instances like these are expected to help them stay afloat even amidst controversies.
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