Legislating Social Media: Is It Finally Time?
While social media can be a fantastic tool for many businesses and for people looking to connect with like minded people or even old friends, it can also cause a lot of harm. In the past few years a lot of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat have gotten many people into trouble. This past election was a prime example of how much harm social media can it really do to people. Just to be clear, this post won't be talking about other people's voting preferences, but it will dive into the digital media tsunami that came afterwards.
Was it Fake News?
The storm that caused the whole "fake news" bonanza has Facebook on its knees, creating policies that required a third party to review articles that might be considered false. What does this mean for the future of legislation in social media? While there were many laws that were passed over the years, including the DOPA bill, which put regulations on adults contacting children, this was put in place to prevent child predators from contacting under age kids on social media. The EU has put the pressure on social media sites to remove harassment and hate speech from their European counterparts.
Legislation Has Been Going on for a Long Time
The debate went from a users personal life to their professional life as several companies have tried to gain employees personal information in case they spill company secrets. Yes, you heard that right. Companies were trying to spy on their employees on social media. As anyone would expect, this drew some outrage, and called for a bill to prevent this, which is now signed and passed in 16 states. However many feel that this might not be enough, as the internet itself is an extremely vast and the recent net neutrality bill has made it even harder for proper and unbiased legislation to be passed.
It Affects Small Businesses
Even though it will probably be years, maybe decades until proper legislation is passed around social media and even other areas of the internet, there is hope for small businesses to be protected under future bills being made by congress. Privacy laws on social media are always changing and it will eventually trickle down to a change in algorithms on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This will create a major domino effect on ads, interaction and customer engagement as well. What will the future hold for us? No one really knows, but the one thing we do know is that small businesses should be ready for the change.