Can data science save social media?

Can data science save social media?

Social media — especially Facebook — has failed miserably at protecting user privacy and blocking miscreants from sowing discord. What has not been said is that Facebook must embrace data science methodologies initially created in the bowels of the federal government to help protect its two billion users. IBM, for example, has been granted a patent on a particular HE method — a strong hint it’s seeking a practical solution — and last month proudly announced that its rewritten HE encryption library now works up to 75 times faster. How homomorphic encryption would help Facebook HE is a technique used to operate on and draw useful conclusions from encrypted data without decrypting it, simultaneously protecting the source of the information. A particularly promising sign for HE emerged last year, when Google revealed a new marketing measurement tool that relies on this technology to allow advertisers to see whether their online ads result in in-store purchases. Unearthing this information requires analyzing data sets belonging to separate organizations, notwithstanding the fact that these organizations pledge to protect the privacy and personal information of the data subjects. In pilot tests, HE enabled Google to successfully analyze encrypted data about who clicked on an advertisement in combination with another encrypted multi-company data set that recorded credit card purchase records. Data provenance Data provenance has a markedly different core principle. It’s based on the fact that digital information is atomized into 1s and 0s with no intrinsic truth. The art market, as an example, deploys DP to combat fakes and forgeries of the world’s greatest paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Scammers Hijack Verified Twitter Account To Steal Crypto By Posing As Telegram CEO
Brandon Poliszuk takes initiative with Social Butterfly business
Facebook is becoming more like Twitter than Snapchat, says former Yahoo CEO

The unfettered internet is too often used for malicious purposes and is frequently woefully inaccurate. Social media — especially Facebook — has failed miserably at protecting user privacy and blocking miscreants from sowing discord.

That’s why CEO Mark Zuckerberg was just forced to testify about user privacy before both houses of Congress. And now governmental regulation of Facebook and other social media appears to be a fait accompli.

At this key juncture, the crucial question is whether regulation — in concert with Facebook’s promises to aggressively mitigate its weaknesses — will correct the privacy abuses and continue to fulfill Facebook’s goal of giving people the power to build transparent communities, bringing the world closer together?

The answer is maybe.

What has not been said is that Facebook must embrace data science methodologies initially created in the bowels of the federal government to help protect its two billion users. Simultaneously, Facebook must still enable advertisers — its sole source of revenue — to get the user data required to justify their expenditures.

Specifically, Facebook must promulgate and embrace what is known in high-level security circles as homomorphic encryption (HE), often considered the “Holy Grail” of cryptography, and data provenance (DP). HE would enable Facebook, for example, to generate aggregated reports about its user psychographic profiles so that advertisers could still accurately target groups of prospective customers without knowing their actual identities.

Meanwhile, data provenance — the process of tracing and recording true identities and the origins of data and its movement between databases — could unearth the true identities of Russian perpetrators and other malefactors, or at least identify unknown provenance, adding much-needed transparency in cyberspace.

Both methodologies are extraordinarily complex. IBM and Microsoft, in addition to the National Security Agency, have been working on HE for years, but the technology has suffered from significant performance challenges. Progress is being made, however. IBM, for example, has been granted a patent on a particular HE method — a strong hint it’s seeking a practical solution — and last month proudly announced that its rewritten HE encryption library now works up to 75 times faster. Maryland-based ENVEIL, a startup staffed by the former NSA HE team, has broken the performance barriers required to produce a commercially viable version of HE, benchmarking millions of…

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This