An Era of Decentralized Social Networks

By : Aditya February 4, 2019 No Comments

How Blockchain is Revolutionizing Social Media and Empowering Users

Social networking as we have known it over the past decade is undergoing a much-needed change – and Blockchain is a big part of its future.

Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp have grown at unprecedented rates, fueled for the most part by a singular force – data. While the social industry harnessed data provided by users in order to increase engagement, many users were oblivious to the amount of power and control they were handing over to these networks. But now, thanks to a tectonic change brought about by Blockchain technology, the power is shifting from the hands of social networks to the hands of its users.

How the Cambridge Analytica scandal helped fuel the rise of Blockchain

While users want highly personalized content customized to meet their needs, they also want data security. By retrieving more data to provide better personalization, the reach of social networks has become more intrusive, providing access to data that can be highly personal and sensitive. Until recently, the onus has been on social networks to manage user data safely, effectively, and responsibly. However, many of the organizations that were expected to protect user data have failed, with security issues hitting them hard.

Although data security glitches have been experienced across multiple social networking platforms, it took the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which exposed the personal data of 87 million Facebook users, to bring the issue of user privacy to the forefront. It sparked a massive #DeleteFacebook campaign online, raised questions about how other social networks were managing their data, forced governments to demand clear rules around data handling, led to investigations and the passing of laws to enforce better data management, and created a rising demand to give control of data back to the users who created it. This is where Blockchain comes in.

How Blockchain helps ensure user privacy

Blockchain is a public electronic ledger that operates on the model of decentralized networks, which transfers the ownership of data from a centralized power center back to the user who created the data, enabling efficient sharing of information between different parties and ensuring the highest levels of data security. Decentralized networks allow better control of data by giving users the ability to control – right down to a granular level – who can see what part of the information they share on which platform.

User privacy is ensured by decentralized networks, which create a distributed system that eliminates the presence of meta-data stored on centralized servers, which can be accessed by external parties for data gathering, tracking, or theft. The recent case of the Marriott data breach was a classic example of how vulnerable user privacy is – the private information of half a billion users, including their home addresses and passport details, were hacked. Decentralized networks help eliminate the possibility of this scenario.

Why decentralized social networks are more important than ever

A new generation of startups is using Blockchain to build decentralized social networks and democratize information. This new crop of social networks has a growing appeal among users, in part because they offer radical transparency, a critical factor that is missing in traditional social networks.

Data ownership: The traditional social networks wielded a monopoly over data ownership. With decentralization, the direct control of data goes to users who have complete control over the data they share. Also, with some start-ups offering token-based incentives, users can now monetize data by selling it to those who want access to it.

Data security: Through its inherent feature of distributed systems and multiple encryptions, decentralized networks ensure the highest levels of online data security.

Curb false information and fake news: Decentralized networks help in verifying and authenticating all types of data being shared on social networks. This helps control the creation and sharing of false information and news.

Data portability: With direct ownership of data, decentralized social networks facilitate portability. A user has direct control over their personal identity and data and can shift seamlessly between different networks.

Remove the middleman: By removing the role of external carriers of data, organizations can directly access critical data needed for obtaining business insights, reducing huge bottlenecks in terms of cost, time, and effort.

A few decentralized social networks that are gaining momentum right now are Mithril, Diaspora, Minds, Mastodon, Sola, and Seemit. They are competing with the biggies like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and have a long way to go before becoming market leaders. But with data security being the number one priority right now, their journeys might not be too long.

How TVS Next uses Blockchain to secure healthcare patient privacy

Traditional technology platforms in the healthcare industry face the challenge of maintaining and sharing confidential patient data securely over multiple platforms. With Blockchain, different stakeholders across the healthcare value chain, such as patients, doctors, medical technicians, insurance providers, and others can access common information across their networks securely. Patients have better control of data, which removes the dependency on a single healthcare provider.

TVS Next used Blockchain technology to co-engineer a product called “UHID” (Unique Health ID) which secures patient data and puts access and control of the data in the hands of its rightful owners. The product stores patient health records and maintains a single version of a patient’s data and allows different healthcare agents to request permission to access and interact with medical records. Each interaction is auditable, transparent, and secure, and is recorded as a transaction on the client’s distributed ledger.

No privacy is lost in this process, as every data transfer happens only with the consensus of the patient. In addition, the product enables analytics on the public data to be stored in the system and thereby generates insights for government and other regulatory bodies.

How TVS Next prepares businesses for the decentralized future

Deploying Blockchain applications can be complex and time-consuming, requiring configuration of Blockchain tools, a comprehensive design of the Blockchain network topology, and safe distribution of certificates.

TVS Next’s team of in-house experts combine technical competency and domain expertise across industries to gain a deep understanding of our clients’ business needs, which allows us to develop revolutionary solutions using Blockchain.

Our Hyperledger-based framework allows clients to access the best of open source technologies in order to fast-track the deployment of decentralized networks, manage chaincodes, and significantly reduce the development time required for setting up infrastructure for enterprise-level Blockchain applications.

Through our strong DevOps practice focused on continuous integration and deployment, we partner with clients to create cross-functional teams that facilitate close collaboration and seamless execution. By implementing Agile tools and methodologies, we enable digital as well as a cultural transformation for our clients and help them reap the benefits – promoting innovation, enhancing productivity, and providing faster go-to-market timelines for their Blockchain solutions.

To find out more about how TVS Next can help your business make the most of Blockchain, click here.

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