Social media has gained even more popularity in the current COVID-19 situation. Hence, it needs specific reforms to ensure that it remains secure to match up with the increasing demand

Social media has clearly emerged as the winner during the coronavirus crisis as all the firms swiftly move to social media marketing. Even the government and health care organizations are preferring it as the platform to reach out to the maximum people. However, the sudden popularity of social media has exposed people to challenges such as cyber frauds, cyberbullying, online harassment, and the psychological fear of missing out (FOMO).

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The UK government has announced that it will exert more pressure on social media companies to take complete responsibility for the content published on their platform. The increasing pressure to regulate the digital sphere will almost restrict how advertisers target their consumers and what content can be promoted on social media platforms. This will focus on promising greater transparency on how advertising data is collected and used.

The best example of this is how Facebook allows users to manage the ads they see based on their interest under the account settings section. With the increased demand and popularity of advertising on social media, more companies should come up with such trends and privacy policies.

Enforced regulations will encourage users to trust social media networks more, making them open to perceiving the ads positively. This will also reflect in higher customer engagement. On the other hand, the advertisers will be restricted from their targeting and personalized capabilities. This might translate to lower ad engagement, reduced opportunities for customization, and media spend wastage. Organically, social platforms will witness a diminished ability to deliver users with curated content due to limitations regarding their data collection techniques.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal was an eye-opener for many. It made people realize the power of social media and data – pushing the need for strict social media regulations. Users are already transforming their privacy settings to include minimum information on their social media accounts. Users continue to push for more stringent rules with heightened privacy concerns as the entire world moves towards digitalization.

This trend will open alternative commercial models for social media networks, such as subscriptions, which mitigate the need for personal data. Another solution would be to reward users who share their data.

Multi-networking is another major issue that needs to be addressed. The number of social media accounts each person owns is growing across all demographics. This has also increased the risk of cyber-attacks, compromising personal data, which can be sold by hackers at enormous prices.

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The way people consume content is changing – resulting in the evolution of new social media networks as a natural response to the changes. Towards the end of 2019, social media was making news for its negative impacts. But, due to the current COVID-19 situation, screen time has exponentially increased as individuals re-download apps to communicate and stay connected with friends and family.

Soon, new improvised platforms will emerge through this dark time with a more diverse, engaged user base than ever before. It is quite challenging to predict the future of social media as it is the most rapidly-changing environment that will hopefully move towards becoming safer and more democratic.