Facebook plea: It is time social media authenticated its users

By K Yatish Rajawat On August 20 the Supreme Court of India sought the response of the Centre and social media companies to respond on Facebook In all likelihood the apex court will hear a matter that affects the very fabric of democracy of this country. This is a good step as finally the judiciary will address an issue that is becoming difficult for the executive to handle. The government is helpless as all issues related to social media get muddled with concerns on privacy and security. There is a concerted lobby with a trust deficit with anything related to Aadhaar and\/or control by the government. While social media users do not think about privacy before sharing information about their children, family on social media they worry about privacy while sharing data with the government. When it comes to regulating the identification of users, even the Supreme Court confuses it as a privacy issue. This prevents any clear line of regulations and rules. It The objective is to identify and authenticate real social media users from the fake ones. By authenticating users the misuse of these platforms can be prevented. Also read: This is tearing down the fabric of democracy by creating and popularising extreme and negative narratives. Information weaponization can lead to social unrest, and allow terrorist organisations to spread hate and violence. All this is allowed to happen because social media platforms do not take any responsibility for identifying users on their platform, they do not take responsibility for the content on their platform, and they do not take responsibility for its misuse They have more than 25,000 data points on every user but they still claim to law enforcement authorities and even to the judiciary that as per their user agreements they cannot the identify their users). Thus, social media platforms have become it is not yet clear to what extent is this information safe as the Cambridge Analytica case proved. In the past there have been plenty of instances where this information has been misused, mainly to influence the electoral outcomes in the United States, during the EU referendum in the UK, in the West Indies, in Africa, etc. This can be prevented if users The difference between usage pattern of real and disinformation campaign is crucial to understand as surreptitious activity is not done by real accounts. Removing fake accounts will bring down the total number of users on these platforms, as Industry estimates that the number of fakes accounts is high and vary from 20-50 per cent of total user base. Since the social media companies have a user base determined valuation, a fall in user growth will affect their stock price more than a slowdown in revenue growth. This explains the opposition to authenticating users. Now, that we have established the objective of identification and authentication of users and understood the opposition. Let But flying is not safe especially a long flight to Brisbane. To fly identity has to be disclosed to immigration officials, airlines and even the airport This could be considered as a violation of privacy, but is not. Everybody disclose their identity and authenticated that at several level. The assumption is that the data will not be misused, it will not leaked. The assumption is that there are norms for storage, access and usage of such personal data. Distrust is not default mindset for these disclosures. When it comes to Aadhar linkages with social media, distrust is very high. The distrust could be with the government or its capabilities to secure data. It could also be with social media platforms. To remove this trust deficit Supreme Court can lay down the norms for storage, use and security of the data. Beginning with removing the requirement for storing data that identifies the user. It can be limited to authentication transactions like done for a digital payment. Even for authentication, documents other than Aadhaar can be used, such as a passport or driving license. The important thing is to establish the onus of responsibility for the users Perhaps the Supreme Court will create a global precedence, which other countries can follow, by beginning the process of assigning responsibility to social media platforms that is long overdue. The author is a senior journalist. Twitter: @yatishrajawat, Views are personal.