Social Media’s Biggest Challenge: Cybercrime

While it’s increasingly clear some part of social media is here to stay, it’s also clear that its most profound challenge is already rearing its ugly head: cybercrime. Forget speculation about whether social media is a trend or a fad, or how widely it can be used for commercial purposes. It’s a big giant party with no one screening at the door.

According to Symantec, every 3 seconds an identity is stolen. There’s a symmetry with popular stats about Facebook adoption (100 Million users in less than 9 months) that suggest a legitimate (or at least mostly harmless) new FB identity was created about every 3 seconds. That’s a lot of identity creation, modification, and transference. Between the amount of identity generation going on with cybercrime and social media right now, the entire population of the United States is currently “turning over” about once a year. The Wild West sensation online is greater than its ever been. Stake your claim in a place where no one knows your name. Reinvent yourself, make friends, make enemies, disappear, reappear, get a life, or lead a double life.  Cybercrime has surpassed illegal drug trafficking as a criminal moneymaker. Was it 130 Million names and numbers stolen this week? Ho hum. There are 200 Million Facebook users alone. What’s the stat – if Facebook were a country it would be the third largest in the world? And what are the policing forces mustered on behalf of this nation?

There is no way law enforcement can keep up. There is no way the average FB/Twitter user can either. So, who will be the Guardian Angels of social media? Or in this new world, will we be our brother’s keepers out of necessity, community-enforcing the unspoken laws of the frontier?

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~ by joshuakelly on August 19, 2009.

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