Insights & Media


Ana Rocha explains the potential toxicity of social networks


The presence of social media in our lives has gradually gained increasing weight, with several alerts for its potential toxicity. In an opinion piece for IT Channel magazine, Ana Rocha, Senior Associate in the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Department, explains how these online platforms have negatively changed our behaviour and the risks inherent in their use for the rights and freedoms of individuals.

"The business models of these information society services have become increasingly complex and intricate, based mainly on personal data. Many, multiple and varied personal data, treated on the basis of sophisticated artificial intelligence algorithms and techniques", says the CCA Associate.

Regarding the collection of this data, Ana Rocha underlines that "the combination of this information can often be sensitive in revealing (or allowing to infer, accurately or not), for example, political opinions, religious or philosophical convictions, or health conditions, which requires special care and determines that, with more relevance, it should be assessed whether the data processing in question is lawful, fair and transparent vis-à-vis the data subject, which will include carrying out an ethical evaluation".

On the other hand, according to the Associate, "advertising is fundamental and there are many obvious advantages and benefits to tailoring ads and content to suit individual interests and needs. It is assuming that there must be a balance between these ‘forces’ that it seems essential to establish principles and define criteria for it to be possible to allocate responsibilities and increase transparency - even if this seems a herculean task to define and implement!".