Filling The Need For Social Media Privacy
Beth Carvin

It’s been more than a year since the eruption of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, when it was revealed that ostensibly private information about more than 50 million Facebook users had been leaked to the political data firm—details about users’ likes, friends, and profile information. The incident was an enormous blow to Facebook’s reputation, with scores of users abandoning their Facebook accounts in the wake of the incident—equating to a 52% decrease in user trust and a $119 billion drop in Facebook’s market value.

The Cambridge Analytica debacle highlighted a glaring hole in the social media industry: the need for privacy. And not only privacy, but real privacy—secure, custom privacy on an individual basis. When the basis of social sites is that they’re intended for sharing, how are they supposed to fill a need like that?

Enter memory-sharing platform JamBios.

There are options for increased privacy on other social sites—Twitter and Instagram both offer the option to create “private accounts,” requiring followers to be accepted by users before they can see content—but JamBios is on an entirely different level. The platform, which launched in 2017, was designed and developed specifically to ensure personalized levels of privacy.

As CEO and co-founder of JamBios, I had the idea for the platform after being part of a group email where my family members were reminiscing together about a bar my great-grandfather owned in Boston. Relishing the exchange of incredible stories, I realized that we needed a better system for sharing memories than an email server could provide. That’s when I was inspired to create a way to remember together where memory stories from across generations could be saved permanently, in one easy place. In pursuing this goal, I knew that privacy had to be priority #1.

Privacy is built into JamBios’ very structure. A JamBio online memoir is set up like a book, with a set of chapters that are divided into stories (“sections”). Users are able to invite whoever they’d like to read or add memories to a story section—and if they don’t invite anyone, the section will default to private. In this way, users are prompted to completely customize their audience and privacy for each individual story. For example, if you’re writing about a scandalous college story, for example, you might invite your college friends to read it—but not your kids.

Besides the option to write memories only for yourself and the option to invite readers section by section, there are also options to share memory stories more widely—namely, the Community Bookshelf, where users can post memory stories for all registered JamBios users to read; and the public Memory Gallery showcase, where users can submit their memory stories to a collection curated by the JamBios creative team. It’s also easy to share JamBio memory stories on other social media platforms, if users choose to do so.

JamBio’s servers are located in Baltimore, in a high-security data center with hardware and software firewalls, intrusion protection systems, and 24/7 monitoring. In a time of newly cultivated mistrust and privacy toward social media websites, the JamBios team and I often receive questions from well-meaning but concerned users: “Is this really private? Do you claim copyright over what we write?” Besides privacy, one of the crucial, core tenets of JamBios is about content ownership. The memory stories that users write on the platform belong to them.

Projections of social media trends for 2019 and beyond predict that social media as a whole will move toward truthful storytelling, niche audiences, and a genuine sense of community—while continuing to prioritize privacy and security. Facing the many boxes on this exacting checklist, JamBios is forging forward into the future and setting the example of how to fulfill them.