Social Media Platforms and the Fight for Transparency


Social media platforms have been under the microscope since possible interference in the United States election first came to light. While this was an unfortunate way to expose flaws in online systems we use to communicate on a daily basis, it opened up a necessary discussion on transparency.

Since then, social platforms have turned conversation into action-taking steps to eliminate virtual wrongdoing.

Similar to Twitter’s blue badge, Instagram has released their own verification system. Their blue tick is currently available to notable public figures, celebrities, global brands and other entities. Instagram’s update is a great example of a relatively small change that can have tremendous results.

 
 

A simple check mark at the top of a profile can communicate to users that the profile is exactly what it seems – no strings attached. Updates like these put the user-experience first, which helps create an authentic experience across the board – and that’s exactly what social media is all about.

Authenticity is increasingly pervasive when it comes to social media marketing. Fake accounts lead to inflated reach and performance numbers which aren’t helping brands or influencers engage in genuine conversations with their audiences.

It’s no secret that authenticity is key to all social media content and interactions. With Instagram surpassing the billion-user milestone, more users are demanding more verification filters to ensure that the content they are consuming comes from credible and trustworthy sources. We can expect that as the blue tick becomes more widely available, we will see it used for different purposes. Influencers will likely use the symbol as a way to identify legitimate businesses and vice versa.

 
 

Instagram has become a hub for collaboration and partnerships, which strengthens the need and desire for transparency. Developing a verification system, however, is only half of the battle. While the system is a great initiative and irrefutably 10 steps in the right direction, Instagram will need to continuously evaluate each profile, as they can quickly become malicious.

With the sheer scale of Instagram profiles, it’s possible that the frequency of evaluations could pose a threat to this new system. If this occurs, one solution could be to provide the date and time of the last badge review. This way, users have an idea of how recent the profile in question earned their blue badge.

It’s no secret that authenticity is key to all social media content and interactions. With Instagram surpassing the billion-user milestone, more users are demanding more verification filters to ensure that the content they are consuming comes from credible and trustworthy sources.

A healthier social space will also have a positive impact on influencer marketing; one of the most up and coming digital trends. We can imagine that marketers will be able to search for viable influencers confidently, focusing their activities on interacting with real audiences.

However, Instagram isn’t the only platform raising the bar for authenticity. Twitter has become more vigilant about eliminating illegitimate activity on their platform, with plans to remove all fake accounts. The move shows Twitter’s commitment to delivering a pollution-free environment for both marketers and users.

At first glance, dwindling numbers for any social media platform can seem concerning, making it even more admirable that Twitter is taking the lead – favoring authenticity over vanity. Fortunately, most brands are on board with Twitter’s stance on reducing the number of fake profiles on the platform.

And why wouldn’t they be? While it may come as a surprise for brands to see a huge drop in Twitter followers, it’s actually extremely beneficial. Removing dead weight from their following increases their chances of acquiring meaningful interactions. It gives them the ability to rebuild a loyal audience that they can count on. It’s true that numbers look good, but, in this case, they’re only for show.

While it’s important for brands and influencers to have a solid follower base, the key here is quality – not quantity. Authenticity is increasingly pervasive when it comes to social media marketing. Fake accounts lead to inflated reach and performance numbers which aren’t helping brands or influencers engage in genuine conversations with their audiences.

There is no clear-cut answer that can be prescribed to all social media platforms. Seeing as they have different business models, we can expect that each channel will experiment with different solutions. We’re at the beginning of a new era that will indefinitely evolve as we learn more about what works and what doesn’t. What we’re seeing now are simply t the first advancements in online transparency; we can expect to see more in the near future.

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