Ramblings on Social Networking

I’ve been having a tough time coming up with blog material recently.  Not for any lack of news, though.  There’s a number of significant security issues going on:

“Flashback” Mac Trojan infects approximately 600k

Sketchy “Girls Around Me” app highlighted by John Brownlee at Cult of Mac.  Subsequently removed from App Store and has had Foursquare API access revoked.

Free hotel WiFi inserts code into all webpages served.  Hotel kills ad-serving service.

A common thread in the latter two stories is the swift corporate responses to negative press that circulates the social media networks.  This has been a defining theme of 2012 to date.  Pink Slime, Rush Limbaugh’s advertiser exodus, etcetera.

This is the realized power of social networks…the rapid dissemination of information combined with a window into exactly how many people are seeing it, and what their responses are.
It can act as a focus group, a petition, or a protest without anyone actually getting out of their chair to do anything.
And it works.
The problem I see is: Who’s doing the fact checking?

KONY 2012, Mike Daisey…these are the stories that went viral but were later found to have significant inaccuracies.  In these cases there weren’t any major issues because of the bad information, but imagine if a small company is put out of business because of a false story that becomes widely shared.  There are probably unscrupulous people planting fake stories at this very moment trying to manipulate the social networks for their own benefit.

Ideally, I’d like to see some sort of accuracy rating included with all links posted to Facebook and Twitter (it will be much harder to do this with Twitter’s character limit).  This could work using the same crowd-sourcing mechanisms by which the stories spread.  People can flag a story if it contains misinformation. The more flags it collects, the lower it’s credibility rating.

Or maybe just put in a webservice that references Snopes and Politifact.


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