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Why regulation could benefit social media

In response to a hugely turbulent 2019 in global politics and climate change being thrust into the limelight. So while social media has not quite grown up, it has certainly been tamed somewhat.

And whilst this sounds like big brother casting its all seeing eye across the digital and physical worlds it does offer some huge opportunities for brands and individuals.

Some sections say this has been a long time coming. Others say that it is no where near enough. So whilst there are growing data privacy concerns; the inactions of the platforms; increasing awareness of bad influencer behaviour; election fraud and falling trust in the industry.

As a result Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook and social media as a whole will have to accept some state level regulations in order to become safer for their users. On the surface this seems like Mr. Zuckerberg is trying to shrug off the potential increased regulation by seemingly playing along with the demands. The increasing pressure from both politicians and initiatives have forced the platforms to self-regulate rather than refuse to accept international authority.

The UK’s announcement of Ofcom taking on the role as social media watchdog ahs only further empashised the pressure being applied to platforms to reduce the impact that they are having on the mental health of their users.

In response to this increasing pressure Facebook has closed one million harmful accounts every hour in the first nine months of 2019, 15 million hate speech posts were deleted ,18 million pieces of terrorist propaganda were deleted and 5.9 billion pieces of spam were deleted.

Plus brands already have dedicated teams to safely engage with consumers on social, these report libellous and defamatory content directly to teams at social media platform. So without partnering directly with brands, experts, social media platforms and other regulators, this could all just become a piece of legislation that is used in the short term to scare brands before being quickly relegated and rarely spoken of again.

An example of platforms taking user wellbeing more seriously is the “hidden likes” test being rolled out on Instagram. While it is platform driven self-care, it is pressured into existence by the broader community to rebalance our digital lives.

Brands can access this sentiment. Whether that is creating and developing a culture that is based in kindness, and that supports their employees through both encouraging employees to take better care of their personal wellbeing.

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