News

25Mar

Protecting social networking data

Social networking companies have come under widespread and severe criticism for how they use, and frequently misuse, personal data on their platforms. One of the most flagrant and highly publicised has been the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and the misuse of the private data of millions of Facebook users.

Protecting social networking data

The personal data in this case was allegedly used to manipulate political outcomes, and as such must have been seen as a potentially valuable commodity. However, past data breaches and similar incidents have also shown a level of incompetence and even carelessness from social platforms in the handling of this type of content.

One of the latest episodes involves a social network arguably in terminal decline. The BBC Tech News has reported that “MySpace admits losing 12 years’ worth of music uploads”. A statement released by the company explained that: "As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos, and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available on or from MySpace."

A technical mishap … or was it?

The BBC report also traced the waning popularity of MySpace, which was launched in 2003 and in its heyday boasted millions of users, becoming the most visited site in the USA in 2006, beating even Google. Cynical commentators have questioned whether this data loss really was due to a technical problem, or whether MySpace simply didn’t want to go through with the costly business of migrating and hosting 50 million old MP3s.

This event is upsetting for the platform users and also represents the permanent loss of musical and personal archive material. In the great scheme of things, this particular event may not seem hugely important, but it does highlight the broader issue of data protection and security on social networking channels

Effective monitoring is essential

As we explain on our Social Media Marketing web page, the social networking platforms can be invaluable for increasing brand awareness and delivering targeted messages to domestic and worldwide audiences.

Nevertheless, the world of the social media is volatile. Recently, as well as the MySpace episode, there has been Google’s decision to withdraw the consumer version of its Google+ social channel on 2nd April 2019. This is in spite of the commitment and wishes of loyal users, including many businesses wishing to build brand awareness with consumer audiences.

A cause for concern is that unless Google+ subscribers have backed up their content on the platform, it will be irretrievably lost. Google has provided advice on downloading content from the platform, but warns that the process could take some time and that users should get started before 31st March 2019.

That is not very reassuring.

Managing online content

Whether data loss is accidental, maliciously instigated or caused by changing policies and priorities of internet giants like Google, its effects on businesses or individuals can be considerable. These data issues should also be looked at in a broader context, emphasising the need to ensure the security of website content and/or any essential data stored in the cloud. 

BBI Brandboost lists the key benefits of effective managed hosting as “protection, accessibility, scalability and support.” These principles should apply not only to the management of website content but to all types of essential online data. It is vital not to create risks by cutting corners.

About the Author

Ronnie Gunn

As Head of Communications, Ronnie focuses on content writing, PR and media relations. Throughout a long journalistic and business career, he has developed an exceptional talent for spotting a good story and knowing how to tell it. His varied experience allows him to understand complex technical subjects like precision engineering and appreciate the key selling points of consumer markets such as travel.

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