Article

Gal Borenstein
Gal Borenstein 29 June 2015
Categories Social Media

Social Media Is A Business: Should It Be Regulated?

Social media is no longer a chat room where people can state opinions with no repercussions.

Privacy is rare these days. With social media, the Internet, and other media sucking in and spitting out content every second, literally no one can evade being consumed by the virility of the digital age.



When social media sites were on the rise in the early 2000s, the culture of ‘sharing,’ ‘liking, and ‘posting’ exploded. Thoughts, expressions, and opinions are shared constantly on sites like Facebook and Twitter, but site users do not realize the impact of their social media use. These platforms are built on the First Amendment, promoting the ideals of freedom of speech, but let’s be real, social media is a business. They thrive on sponsors and advertisements that use social media sites as an opportunity to reach specific consumers with NSA-level of demographic accuracy, which we give away willingly along with our photographs and lifestyle preferences.

Every like. Every share. Every comment is calculated to determine the user as a certain buyer and that is advantageous for B2C and B2B corporations. Social media is evolving advertising, as advertising is funding social media. But with recent questions of privacy laws and regulations in social media, it seems like the topic of unregulated content has become the new age debate and may effect the social media business.

The Elonis vs. United States case is just the beginning of the evolving debate on whether social media should be regulated or not. The Supreme Court voted in favor of Anthony D. Elonis for his threatening posts on Facebook, but the trial tested the limits of how far the law can go in prosecuting someone for online posts. In Elonis’ case, the posts were not justifiable for prosecution but will the standard for threats and zealous accusations need to evolve to keep up with technology?

People can be cruel and audacious when guarded by the veil of social media, Elonis, a prime example. And the recent case of Facebook posts displaying graphic photos of battered women, promoted sexual harassment and physical abuse, undermine the better intentions of the social media site.


Fortunately, these photos with captions that demeaned women cannot be found on Facebook anymore. A campaign, by UK activists, to have those posts taken down gained so much attention that companies like Nissan UK and Nationwide UK suspended their advertisements on Facebook, after realizing their Ads had randomly appeared next to those offensive posts. Under pressure, Facebook stated their intolerance of such content, pulled it off the site, and even revised their guidelines.

Avoidable? Completely. Facebook is a private company, allowed to regulate the content produced on their site, set guidelines for unfavorable content, but why did it take for advertisers to pull out their Ads for Facebook to start regulating? Perhaps the ideals of freedom of speech need to be protected, but the people exploiting social media to make threats or be offensive should be held accountable and expect to be faced with scrutiny and liability. If anything, these posts shouldn’t even make it onto the site.


Elonis escaped prosecution now, but would he in five, ten years? Social media is no longer a chat room where people can state opinions with no repercussions. It is an extension of current social life and honestly a business that needs to uphold standards. It is not to be taken lightly anymore and people need to understand that privacy on Facebook is nonexistent. So as an advice for the future, think before you post.

Original Article By: Melanie Hsu Intern at the Borenstein Group

Interested in the future of Social, come along to the Digital Leaders Trends Briefing on the 24th September

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
Life of a Twitter Influencer [Infographic]

Life of a Twitter Influencer [Infographic]

The following infographic Illustrates the life of a Twitter Influencer and includes everything from earnings, cheatsheets and social movements started on Twitter. While Twitter may not be the most popular social channel it is still one of the most powerful channels to spark online conversation. If you're a Twitter influencer, this infographic is the ultimate guideline to your future tweets.

Chiara Di Rago
Chiara Di Rago 30 November 2016
Read more
50 Chrome Extensions That Will Boost Your Productivity

50 Chrome Extensions That Will Boost Your Productivity

Today you can find Google Chrome extensions for almost anything that you can think about. In the sea of available extensions, it can be a hustle to choose which one are the best for your type of the business.

Aleksej Durdevic
Aleksej Durdevic 29 November 2016
Read more
Digital Marketing - The Wave of the Future

Digital Marketing - The Wave of the Future

With social media platforms like Facebook holding well over 1.6 billion users world-wide (and counting), these digital platforms have become the new marketplace. In order to properly promote business brands and products or services, an online company needs to employ the services of a specialist known as a digital marketer.

Mohammad Farooq
Mohammad Farooq 29 November 2016
Read more