Facebook & Instagram outages expose the pain points of Centralized identity systems
Active users of social media recently faced a massive slump when Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp recently shut down on 4th October 2021. The downtime for the Facebook servers which run Instagram and Whatsapp also lasted a few hours and billions of users were left stranded.
Besides the glitch in the normal routine, this shutdown of popular social media apps also ignited a few burning questions. Facebook and Instagram are centralized identity systems, implying they are owned and controlled by a single entity that reserves all the rights to the user’s data.
In the past, Facebook has several times been questioned about the safety of their user details which Mark Zuckerberg failed to answer with undeniable comfort. While such reports date back to the origin of the platform itself, here are a few latest hacks that raised concerns about the privacy of the users.
1. Arguably the biggest scandal in the history of the Internet was The Cambridge Analytica Scandal, where Facebook allowed a third party to extract its user data and use it extensively. This scandal questioned the integrity of Facebook’s security as the company failed to address the issue and changed the way people interacted with social media sites.
2. In April this year, there were reports that personal data of over 500 million Facebook users were posted online in a low-level hacking forum which included phone numbers, full names, locations, email addresses, and biographical information.
3. Yet again, Facebook made the news earlier this week for its pathetic privacy protocols, which led to data breaches of over 1 billion users.
How Decentralized Identity Systems are the solution?
It’s become commonplace to see reports of digital users’ data being stolen. Regardless of the reasons behind these incidents, the fact that the world needs to move onto a decentralized model of identity management is now more than evident.
A decentralized identity system is built on blockchain, a digital ledger that stores all information including all cryptocurrency transactions. Moreover, while the data stored on the blockchain is public, personal information is encrypted and, also cannot be edited once recorded. Blockchain has introduced a perfect and secure solution to manage personal identities.
For example, projects such as PhotoChromic are developing a biometrically managed self-sovereign identity on the blockchain utilising the feature sets of NFTs (non fungible tokens). Self-sovereign identity ensures that a user retains complete control over their identity without anyone else having access to it.
PhotoChromic is offering a compelling mix of services such as global identities to undocumented people all over the world, creating a global identity that is not local and government-issued, and ensuring the safety of the identity with the help of blockchain.
Another project that started working on solving the global centralized identity crisis was Sovrin. While Sovrin Network aims to introduce Self-Sovereign identity as well, it utilizes Zero Knowledge Proof to ensure users retain control of their personal identity.
The recent Facebook and Instagram shutdown is the signal to move towards decentralized solutions, and it has to be done sooner than later. In the world of the internet, user data is the only private asset that a user has which should not be compromised because of personal profit.
People need to take control of their personal data and not let centralized conglomerates such as Facebook freely use it without consent without any repercussions. Blockchain technology is the key to this problem as evident from its recent advancement in revolutionizing the digital financial world.