David Glenwright on the Weaponization of Social Media

13

February, 2018

David Glenwright opened the final day of Warwick Congress 2018 with a speech on the overarching theme of the day, ‘Social Media, The Making of New Politics’. Mr. Glenwright, the Head of Training Services at JC Social Media, emphasised that there has never been a more exciting time for social media, since all the jobs in the this sector have only emerged within the last 15 years. 

“These [social media] platforms are growing to a point where they could be more powerful than countries”

– David Glenwright

In his incredibly engaging keynote speech, Mr. Glenwright interacted with the audience by making the delegates think back to their first experiences of using social media. He walked us through the history of Facebook’s evolution, and even looked back to the first ever social media platform, Friends Reunited. In addressing the topic from an economics perspective, Mr. Glenwright surprised the delegates by comparing the most recent quarterly revenues of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn, all major players in the industry. Mr. Glenwright explained that currently there are tens of thousands of people working in social media both internally and externally. These platforms are facilitators and help businesses directly reach their customers. The social media industry is one worth billions of dollars and Mr. Glenwright posed the question of: is this going to continue to grow, or will the industry’s growth become no longer sustainable?

Over the last 20 years, we have watched social media platforms pave the ground for social media as we know it today. Mr. Glenwright taught us that Facebook was the first social media site to introduce targeting features with ads. This feature was revolutionary because it enabled brands to create their own adverts without contacting Facebook. This now means that advertising is exposed to anyone catapulting revenue, making it a viable advertising tool to all. Facebook is to this day the most powerful advertising platform and is unprecedented. Mr. Glenwright expressed the gravity of Facebook’s power by saying that “we should be terrified of the amount of data Facebook holds on us.”

Facebook will continue to exceed GDP of countries around the world. Businesses trust and pour money into Facebook because of its audience potential, its automated processes and fair accessibility to businesses big and small. Despite this, Facebook has its limitations. Mr. Glenwright explained we are close to reaching a saturation point in which there will not be any more space to advertise, so how will Facebook combat this? Social media platforms are being forced to consider alternative revenue methods, but offering the public the chance to pay for premium versions, such as  ‘LinkedIn Premium’ or the ad-free ‘Youtube Red’ are ultimately not bringing in as much revenue as advertisement. Mr. Glenwright predicts that, next, “Facebook is going to take on Amazon and if they do this right it will become a genuine viable threat to e-commerce platforms”.

From a legal perspective, Mr. Glenwright provided insight on “social media companies becoming more powerful than many countries”, with regulation measures like the digital charter being proposed by May’s government. In the future, Mr.Glenwright explained, we will inevitably see a ever-growing tension between governments and social media companies.

 

Written by Mia Daoudi.

Warwick Congress Blog

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