Social media is ready to move beyond Facebook

Malcolm Marshall, KPMG

Malcolm Marshall, KPMG

Can Facebook really be 10 years old? Yes it is, but these are only early days for social media and its eventual impact on our lives, according to a market analyst at KPMG.

Malcolm Marshall, KPMG head of Information Protection & Business Resilience asks the question: ”how can we help users get more from their social media and really grow the market?”

Marshall believes the market is only just beginning to mature.

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“As it grows we can expect users to become far more savvy about the value of their information, and the return they demand from offering a window into their lives and hopes,” said Marshall.

“Privacy is ultimately a personal choice, but that needs to be an educated choice, with more transparency about the trade social media platforms offer users between their privacy and the marketing or provision of tailored services. Society will debate people’s rights over their data, and rightly demand market models which allow users to share in the value generated from that data. All of this must be founded on trust between users and social media providers.”

In the last 10 years Facebook has grown to 1.2 billion active users, with a revenue of $7.9bn. But this is still only $6.50 of revenue for each active user.

But what will be the impact of further regulation on social media.

“We can also expect governments to attempt regulation of social media, whether to protect the vulnerable in society, or in some cases to succumb to the temptation to limit free speech. Social media is not beyond law, albeit that jurisdiction is tricky to determine, and we can expect more cases around defamation and even debates on  just who owns the rights to your social media presence after death,” said Marshall.

“Governments will start to concern themselves more with the functioning of the market, challenging monopolies and anti-competitive behaviours. All of this comes with a maturing market, but I am under no illusion how difficult this will be in such a rapidly changing environment.”

“More and more personal data will be traded, not just photographs and postings, but every aspect of lives from our every movement to the always on video from our personal webcam,” said Marshall.

“We can expect innovative models for exploiting that data, but equally growing concerns over misuse and abuse of that data. While that data is a goldmine for commerce, it is also a wonderful opportunity for organised crime and, as Edward Snowden’s disclosures  have shown, for intelligence services.”

 

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