Regulated Social Network Scenario

The Future of Facebook

The Problem

Big technology companies have grown to be corporate behemoths by attracting billions of users and harvesting their data for commercial purposes. The scale of these platforms, their lax data governance practices and the algorithms underpinning operations are starting to raise serious questions about their negative impact on society. The Cambridge Analytica scandal highlighted how leaked personal data coupled with social media tools could be weaponised to manipulate voters in democratic elections; and the co-ordination of the Capitol Riots in Washington in 2021 shows how users can be fed misinformation based on their personal profiles and incited to sedition. Democratic Governments are becoming concerned. At the same time, the business models of these giant tech companies and their stranglehold on big data are starting to be seen as monopolistic and stifling competition and innovation.


The Solution

Regulators in the US and EU are starting to consider how to rein in the big tech firms with the aim of preventing the abuse of citizens’ personal data, limiting societal harms, and diversifying competition. It is not yet clear how these battles will play out, but there is a scenario hinted at by the EU’s proposed data governance act whereby large technology platforms would be forced to appoint an independent third party to steward its users’ data. The idea being that the data user becomes divorced from the data providers to limit data abuses and ensure that smaller competing companies can gain access to big data-sets.

If this regulatory scenario becomes reality, then third-party data fiduciaries will be mandated by law and new legal frameworks will be needed to support multi-party data sharing.


Key Benefits

  • Limiting societal harms from data abuse
  • Improved access to data for smaller, innovative firms
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