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Can We Trust Social Media Sites to Archive Our Information?

Can We Trust Social Media Sites to Archive Our Information?

When social media was still in its infancy, we all made our first friend out of a guy named Tom. Tom was the creator of social media pioneer, Myspace. Everyone who was on Myspace was friends with Tom. He practically forced you to be. But that was okay because Tom had a trustworthy, everyman kind of face. Myspace wasn’t some faceless corporation, it belonged to our friend Tom. And we trusted Tom.

Then along came Mark – even if Mark didn’t put himself on our friends list like Tom did, he offered us the chance to join his once-exclusive social media site, Facebook. Mark may not have been our friend like Tom was, but Mark’s site seemed a little more grown-up than Tom’s. It had a little more function, and a little less fluff. Eventually, we all left Tom for Mark.

Tom, being the friend that he was, kept all of our old data around though. All the status updates and pictures that we took a decade ago stuck around on Myspace. Although we never visited the site regularly anymore, we could still pop in and get a glimpse at our past. It was like an old family photo album. Until it wasn’t.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Myspace had an incident during a server migration that caused data from before 2016 to be deleted. Our virtual family photo album was gone. But Myspace wasn’t just photos. Messages, videos, music, blog posts, an entire online persona. All of it is now gone. Myspace users may have had some of that data backed up. Some of it, though, they’ll never see again.

Although Myspace is old and virtually forgotten, their server migration snafu should give us a reason to stop and think about what we trust social media companies to keep for us. It should have us asking ourselves whether or not we should rely on them to keep it for us.

What We Store on Social Media

Things have changed quite a bit since the days of Myspace. Social media isn’t just a way to connect with friends anymore. Businesses use it to communicate with customers, governments use it to make official announcements, and end users use it to interact with both of them. That doesn’t mean social media is all work and no play though. Many of us send our pictures directly to a social media site. We store important life moments via video. We post long-form blogs on a variety of personal or professional topics.

In many ways, social media has gone from being an extension of our life to a primary archive of it. What used to be kept in scrapbooks, photo albums, notebook, and journals, is now put directly online and into the hands of a third party. Even if we keep meticulous backups of the things we upload to social media, such as photos and videos, we are still trusting the sites themselves to keep the data that we generate on their sites safe. This means conversations with friends, customers, and business associates. It means stories and live streams and all the random thoughts we send out to all those who follow us.

It is the goal of every social media company to convince us to give them more and more of our data, to put more and more of our life, our memories, our business, in their hands. But there could be dire consequences if another Myspace incident were to occur.

The Consequences of Data Loss

This loss of personal keepsakes such as photos and videos could be emotionally devastating if you did not keep local backups of the things that you uploaded. Conversations with friends that you do not, or cannot, see again going away might be an even harder pill to swallow. Many times, you’ll probably find yourself referring back to a conversation that you had. Perhaps tech support helped you with a problem and you don’t remember what they said when the problem resurfaces. Perhaps an elected representative replies to you and you want to refresh your memory about what they said at some later date.

Loss of such personal information can be really bad, emotionally. If you happen to be that elected representative and your data is lost however, you could find yourself in much deeper water than a wounded heart. According to the Public Records Act, your posts on social media are public records and must be preserved. This means that if a data crash were to happen on your favourite social media site, and the national archives were to request data that you had posted there, you could find yourself in big trouble.

Similar situations could arise if you are part of a large company. The consequences are potentially less dire, but you still may be expected to be able to provide a paper trail for interactions on social media. A lot of business details are discussed via social media these days and you do not want to be caught with those conversations inadvertently struck from the record by a server problem.

A Solution to the Problem

You probably have a solution in place to keep backups of your local files – this is especially true if you are a business or government agency. Brolly allows you to do the same thing for your social media accounts. Every conversation that you have, every image, every comment, every video, all of it backed up automatically with our archiving service. No longer worry about social media data loss, or losing any important business information – with our searchable, secure platform, you can retrieve your social media engagements with the click of a button. Brolly can help give you peace of mind in a world that is increasingly in the cloud.