BrandArena: Commercialization of Social Media Platforms: Stifling Content Sharing and Restricting User Privileges

Monday 3 July 2023

Commercialization of Social Media Platforms: Stifling Content Sharing and Restricting User Privileges

By Lukmon Oloyede

Social media platforms have changed the way we communicate, share information, and express ourselves on the internet. The rising commercialization of these platforms, on the other hand, has resulted in substantial changes that are changing the dynamics of content sharing and user entitlements. As social media titans seek to commercialise their services, they have introduced a variety of techniques that have impacted the freedom and accessibility that users originally enjoyed. In this post, we will look at how the commercialization of social media networks is restricting user rights and constraining content sharing.

Twitter is limiting the number of tweets a user can read in a day. On Saturday, Elon Musk tweeted that the social media giant was applying temporary limits to the number of tweets a user can read so as to address extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation. He said that verified accounts are limited to reading 6,000 posts per day while unverified account holders can only read 600 posts per day. New unverified accounts are limited to 300 posts per day.

Similarly, YouTube is testing a new strategy to combat ad blocker usage on its platform, This move aims to encourage users to either disable their ad blockers or subscribe to YouTube Premium. The experiment involves issuing warnings to viewers who have ad blockers enabled, with the possibility of blocking video playback after three videos.

The warning message informs users that their video player will be blocked if they persist in using ad blockers. It prompts them to either whitelist YouTube or disable the ad blocker to continue viewing content. The pop-up notice emphasises the importance of ads in supporting the platform, which enables YouTube to remain free for its vast user base.

Algorithmic Feeds: Curbing Organic Reach

The emergence of algorithmic feeds is one of the most visible changes brought about by commercialization. While these feeds try to improve the user experience by displaying more relevant content, postings with higher user involvement are frequently prioritised. As a result, organic material from individuals or smaller content creators may be eclipsed, making it more difficult to acquire attention without relying on paid advertising. As a result, the algorithmic method has the potential to limit the organic reach of material and the diversity of viewpoints that users encounter in their feeds.

Advertising Dominance: Intrusions into User Experience

Due to the necessity for revenue, social media platforms have relied largely on advertising. As a result, users are now seeing more sponsored articles and adverts in their feeds. While advertising is necessary for the long-term viability of digital platforms, the entrance of adverts can interrupt the user experience, producing a sense of overcrowding and degrading the validity of content. Users frequently find themselves scrolling past numerous commercial pieces, potentially detracting from the basic goal of social media sites - interacting and sharing with others.

Content Moderation: A Double-Edged Sword

To ensure compliance with norms and regulations, content moderation is an important part of social media networks. However, as these platforms have risen in popularity, content moderation has become more sophisticated and automated. To screen out content that breaches community norms, algorithms and human moderators are used. While these initiatives contribute to a safer online environment, they are not without problems. Due to algorithmic or human error, content that does not necessarily violate policies may be incorrectly identified or removed. As a result, users' content may be restricted or withdrawn, limiting their freedom of speech and reducing their rights as content creators.

Monetization Options: Constraints on Creativity

Social media networks have offered monetization alternatives such as influencer programmes, sponsored posts, and ad revenue sharing to reward content providers. While these opportunities have enabled individuals to earn money from their internet presence, they are not without limitations. Platforms frequently establish limits and eligibility criteria, so restricting the types of content that can be monetized. This has the potential to limit originality and force content makers to conform to predefined themes or topics that are more likely to attract marketers. As a result, the monetization of social media sites may limit users' former freedom of expression and artistic development.

Data Privacy Concerns: Balancing Monetization and User Rights

The commercialization of social media platforms has raised significant concerns about data privacy. These platforms collect vast amounts of user data to tailor advertisements, improve user experience, and target specific audiences. While data collection is crucial for monetization purposes, it raises questions about user consent, data security, and targeted advertising practices. Users may find their personal information being exploited or shared without their explicit consent, leading to growing concerns about privacy and digital rights.


Without a doubt, the monetization of social media platforms has altered the landscape of content sharing and user entitlements. While these platforms try to make revenue and remain profitable, the implications have resulted in tighter control over content, limited organic reach, and potential violations of user rights. It is critical for social media platforms to achieve a balance between commercial interests and user empowerment, allowing content creators and users to freely express themselves while also maintaining a secure and inclusive digital environment.

What do you think the future hold for users of free social media platforms? 

Lukmon Oloyede is a global marketing and communication strategist, founder of BrandArena Communications and publicity secretary of the Digital Frontiers Institute Alumni Association (DFIAA), Lagos Chapter. You can connect with him via LinkedIn or @i_amOloyede on X (formerly Twitter).

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