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Blockchain Next: Social Media and AI

The Facebook data breach saga became a global phenomenon with reports suggesting that more than 87 million user profiles were compromised. The company lost over 14% of its market capitalization with #DeleteFacebook trending on Twitter. With over 3 billion active users on various social media platforms, this data breach might just be the tip of the iceberg.

Companies like Facebook and Google are built on a Surveillance Capitalism business model business model where they collect all available user information and harvest it so that they could effectively advertise to them. As per some estimates, Facebook controls 25% of the world's social media data and enterprises are leveraging this to create personalized advertisement strategies. This has fueled the social media marketing spend of enterprises which have almost tripled in the last few years.

The personalization models of these social media companies are reliant on the amount of information these companies capture as it is directly proportional to the performance of the AI engine. Google search results, advertisements on Facebook wall, movie recommendations by Netflix and voice assistants like Alexa are all driven by AI technologies and data is an integral part of these AI driven applications. AI applications are able to predict and recognize patterns by processing large quantum of historical data. The accuracy of these predictions are directly related to the amount of data it has been trained on and this leads to a data arms race among corporations. The flip side of these technological developments is the loss of privacy and data security.

This raises the question- Is there a better way to address data privacy issues without compromising on the benefits of AI driven applications?

AI driven applications built on distributed ledger technologies like blockchain could help users reap the benefits of these AI applications without losing control of their personal information. Today the data is owned by select few companies and they in turn sell that information. With distributed ledger technologies, users would be able to encrypt and track their personal information over a distributed network. Companies building AI applications would bid for the anonymized data on the distributed network and the user would get compensated accordingly depending on how valuable the information is for the company. The system would remove middlemen allaying data privacy fears as well as allowing users to earn profits in lieu of data.

Since metadata are not stored on centralized servers, third parties can't use user information for surveillance, tracking or data gathering. Startups like indorse.io and onG.social are providing blockchain based solutions. While indorse.io uses an ethereum blockchain network to validate various skills and qualities of users similar to LinkedIn, onG.social provides a blockchain based social dashboard through which users can distribute their information across various social media platforms.

Social media and AI applications built on blockchain could help create a network which has improved security and privacy offerings apart from allowing users to have better control over their content.

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