Digital media is a relatively new field, like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The merger of Social media and Artificial Intelligence (AI) was an even more natural progression of technology.
In social media and cyber security, there are vulnerabilities and concerns from individual to government levels. The unknown variable is how much AI in social media affects our free press and lives and what can be done about it.
Please read on if you are interested in security threats that are problems for social media platforms and their progression with AI.
Security Threats for Social Media Platforms
There are different ways social media applications ask permission to access specific user data on devices like smartphones, mobile cameras, contacts, location, microphone, calendar, files, media, etc.
The reason for introducing Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) on social media platforms was to speed up the process of database functioning, and it was made possible through specific instructions using AI algorithms.
The purpose of using AI algorithms was to merge the superpowers of computers with humanistic traits and drive databases closest to human preferences. The goal was to help brands and companies reach their target traffic and show users their preferred content.
Why Social Media User Reputations are at Stake?
With the passage of time and challenging economic conditions, winning and sustaining users has become a challenge for most company brands like Meta/Facebook and Twitter these days. From restructuring their current strategies to experimenting with new ones, brands look forward to anything it takes to escalate their sales figure like Social Media Influencers.
Social Media Influencers are people who have attained large followings of people online. People follow influencers social media posts and information because they may admire the influencers reputations and views as they have built notoriety for their knowledge and expertise in a specific area or topic.
Influencers create social media posts about the topics they may have knowledge about on their favorite social media channels. They can be reality television or movie stars, politicians, or any specialist in an area of interest.
Companies or “Brands” use social media influencers because they help encourage their followers to buy their brands products.
Social Media Influencer Endorsements
An everyday marketing practice on social media that brands and influencers both frequently use is social media advertisements. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Endorsement Guides has a long list of do’s and don’ts for endorsements to be rightfully made.
Companies and brands work hard to make sure that they are following guidelines. However, they sometimes overlook the added consequences it brings along.
When any brand runs ads, they may use an inorganic and paid method to attract traffic to their business pages or/and posts. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., provide their content to their desired audience, so they start to like or promote their content.
Fake Social Media Accounts
While most social media audiences are authentic platform users and real audiences, some are not. Sometimes people create fake social media accounts to deceive someone’s identity, such as celebrities, politicians, or any influential person. These accounts are also known as Sock Puppet or Finsta accounts.
The other way of generating fake social media visibility and engagement is using AI Bots. It is a common practice that brands or influencers use these days to generate traffic when they are low on budget.
Fake account creators pay a lesser amount to attract fake audiences or bot accounts on their profiles. This type of marketing primarily aims to show off more followers on their profile.
If Misused, Bots and Hackers Can Dish Out Some “Karma”
Bots are automated programs used to engage in social media. There are different types of bots; however, mainly, they are categorized as good bots and bad bots. Bots serve other purposes on social media platforms, such as running various tasks in the form of automated chats and interacting with systems and users.
Bot-generated social media accounts are fake accounts generated to conduct Device-Driven Fraud or fraudulent activities.
They attack social media user’s devices and hack their data. Imagine the saved passwords or documents on the device getting leaked. It’s dreadful to even think about it, right? Imagine some hacker making money off of your important private data by selling it on the Dark Web.
You might think about how an unethical brand or influencer suffers from misusing these fake bot-generated accounts. The answer is that these brand or influencer bot accounts target social media accounts with more followers or the most data to be sold.
Brand or influencer accounts can also get hacked. Once the brand or influencer account has been hacked, the hacker may log them out of their own accounts and blackmail them into sending money to get their account access back.
Malware and Security Concerns
Malware can steal user’s login information and misuse it in different ways, such as leaking their data and contacting people in their friend lists. The users end up in a vulnerable and helpless state where they cannot do much to protect themselves.
As we discuss in our article “Who Has Your Personal Data,” security concerns are a real threat on social media platforms, and the responsibility to safeguard their user’s security falls on none other than themselves.
Since social media accounts allow their users to interact, advertise and market themselves, be it a person or an organization, if they use these platforms, they risk losing their private data.
To protect and secure their user’s accounts, most of the platforms encourage their users to
- Set a unique password that others cannot guess very easily.
- Two Factor Authentication (2FA) method where users can log in using auto-generated code, which is time limited and sends it either via SMS or email.
- If you receive a message request from a stranger where they have shared an external link, do not open it.
- If you have a social media team that manages your account, ensure you allow them the rights they need. For example, a moderator or ad manager does not need admin rights.
- Also, be vigilant while sharing trackable details such as location-based activities.
- To ensure your data is secure, keep it in secured drives or password secured online/offline wallets.
In case you wish to attract traffic to your content, make sure you choose the platform’s secure way of running ads instead of running bots yourself or paying someone else for a bot-generated audience.
It’s not just a security danger, but they can also spam your post resulting in a diminutive organic reach. The problem is thought to be not because of using bots, but using them for the wrong reasons, such as creating fake activity and security threats for others.
Do Social Media Platforms Create Fake Accounts Themselves?
According to a recent study by Statista, Facebook crossed 2.3 Billion users this year. Last year Facebook estimated that more than 10% of these accounts are fake or duplicates.
In the last couple of years, Meta has not just expanded their list of platforms under their brand name, but they have also grown its number of users exorbitantly. So all the Meta users just on their Facebook platform are surrounded by 230 million suspected hackers and malware. It raises a lot of questions about the platform’s integrity.
Many users complain about Meta’s Facebook ad algorithms being messed up and not functioning as expected.
One of the major flaws is bad retargeting during the ad campaign. It attracts fake accounts and not authentic accounts while skewing the ad results. It pushes the brands/influencers to spend more money on advertising campaigns, but they get a slighter Return On Ads Spend (ROAS).
U.S. Officials Declare TikTok Social Media App a National Security Threat
In a recent letter, the U.S. FCC commissioner Brendan Carr renewed his call for Apple and Google to take TikTok off of the AppStore and PlayStore over cyber security concerns. He questioned the accessibility of specific social media applications, such as TikTok, that are a severe national security threat.
Brendan Carr further added how the Chinese government has access to confidential and sensitive information about the U.S. government and social media users. He asked both Apple and Google to ban TikTok or other security-threatening applications from their platforms.
It is not the first time U.S. officials seemed troubled by the serious threats by social media platform’s vulnerable state. In a March meeting, Laura Dehmlow, an FBI official, warned that the threat of subversive information on social media could undermine support for the U.S. government.
Dehmlow, according to notes of the discussion attended by senior executives from Twitter and JPMorgan Chase, stressed that “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.”
Even apart from the natural security concerns, the U.S. government has been investigating social media surveillance on immigration activists, Black Identity Extremism (BIE) and racial justice protests, etc. They are constantly working on limiting various threats however, due to the vast number of users and data to track, it still seems an unmanaged tale.
Other Social Media Platforms Removing Fake Accounts
Meanwhile, Meta declared, “We identified more than 400 malicious Android and iOS apps this year that target people across the internet to steal their Facebook login information.”
To limit the misuse of data and fake accounts, Meta is actively removing fake accounts on their platform. It will not just secure their platform but help various bots function appropriately hence resulting in helping brands and influencers reach their target audience easily.
However, it is very important to understand how data and analytics work and how they help in building reach and generating sales for a business. After all, social media bots work the analytics and drive targeted traffic and sales.
Meta is working on removing all of the fake Facebook and Instagram user’s accounts from their platforms. Meta says it also has removed networks of fake accounts that were based in China, Iran, and Russia.
That this espionage and attack on the United States is even happening in the first place should be extremely worrisome to the average U.S. citizen.
Some of the influencers and brands are shaken to see a downward shift in the number of their followers. However, the authentic followers are still there, it’s just the fake accounts getting removed from the platform, and it is done to safeguard them only.
The Problem With Twitter
We have seen a lot of coverage of Twitter recently because of the 44 billion dollar deal Elon Musk made by purchasing it. The public was not aware that the company was losing 4 million dollars a day before the purchase, and the new management of Twitter has made that information public.
Why would Elon Musk pay 44 billion dollars for a company that is losing 4 million dollars a day? Probably either in the hopes that his management capabilities could turn the company around and make it profitable. Or maybe he just wants to be in charge of some Social Media. So far, he has made some pretty big public relations gaffs.
One thing we did discover through the Twitter purchase process was that they had a lot of fake bots on their platform. At least 12 percent of Twitter users are fake, according to a year-long analysis by CHEQ, an Israel-based cybersecurity firm.
Political Twitter Bots and Fake Followers
Twitter gives you instructions on how to make your own Twitter Bot right on their Developer Tutorial Platform page titled “How to create a Twitter bot with v2 of the Twitter API.”
So how hard is it for Russian or Chinese coders to run amok, creating insidious Political Twitter Bots or fake followers to affect the United State’s social media and Political discourse?
The “Invasion of the Twitter Bots” was a problem 10 yeast ago, clear back in 2012 and most assuredly before that. What we have come to is a place in America where it has become “ok” to allow lies and deceit to permeate every hidden corner of social media and the press.
As been said, Twitter and companies like them have served as a low-cost platform that gives a voice to the repressed and has helped protesters organize and express themselves against tyrannical governments and regimes around the world.
On the other side, Twitter and social media companies like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have been at the center of controversy over the distribution of fake news and misinformation.
Getting Off of Social Media
The ultimate solution may be to get off of social media completely. In our article “Is Black Box AI Dangerous?” we discuss how Artificial Intelligence secretly controls and manipulates our society and our lives and how it is hurting our children.
Even more important, our article talks about how Social Media companies like Meta/Facebook and Twitter have lost control of their black-box algorithms at times because they do not know how they work and what they are doing.
In the article, we also discuss the powerful documentary movie investigation “The Social Dilemma,” which further discusses all of these topics and how some of the creators of these social media companies have completely gotten themselves and their families off of the social media platforms.
We also are no longer on social media because of their relentless pursuit of information on us, the users, for advertising purposes by these companies. We must tell you that we don’t miss social media at all, and at the end of the day, it is okay.
What Is The Future of Social Media Security?
In a nutshell, social media platforms are as equally vulnerable as websites or any other online forum. While we see platforms like Meta, Snapchat, and Twitter making an effort to provide a secure place for their users, they are still not doing a completely thorough job unless pressed to do so.
There is still massive room for improvement. While the platforms sort out the loopholes at their end, we must secure our profiles and data as much as possible. Companies, media persons, and influencers must train their staff and use organic advertisement methods over paid advertisements wherever possible.
In the not-too-distant future, it is quite possible that we may see the collapse of great democracies like the United States due to social media, the internet, and press security. This will be because we have allowed unbridled access to foreign powers to access our social media subversively and unwittingly control the hearts and minds of our people.
- Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
- A Third of US Social Media Users Creating Fake Accounts
- Facebook MAU worldwide 2022 | Statista
- United States: number of Facebook users 2027 | Statista
- FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION WASHINGTON, DC 20554 Brendan Carr Commissioner June 24, 2022, Mr. Tim Cook Chief Executive Officer
- 030122-CISAMEETING – DocumentCloud
- Facts + Statistics: Identity theft and cybercrime | III
- Protecting People From Malicious Account Compromise Apps | Meta
- How to create a Twitter bot with Twitter API v2 | Docs | Twitter Developer Platform
- The Invasion of the Twitter Bots