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The social media revolution just begun

Apr 24, 2014
In the last 10 years Facebook has grown to 1.2 billion active users, with a revenue of $7.9 Bn in 2013. Big numbers, but also just $6.50 of revenue for each active user. So, according to KPMG, the social media revolution has only just begun.

The social media market is only just beginning to mature. As it grows society 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. 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. 

Malcolm Marshall, KPMG’s Head of Information Protection & Business Resilience said, “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 the 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.”

Governments will start to concern themselves more with the functioning of the market, challenging monopolies and anti-competitive behaviour which will be difficult in such a rapidly changing environment.

More and more personal data will be traded, not just photographs and postings, but every aspect of people’s lives from their every movement to videos from their personal webcam. Devices will be on-line reporting on the food people eat, the electricity they use, and even how they drive their cars.

The market can expect innovative models for exploiting that data, but equally growing concerns over misuse and abuse of that data. While the 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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