The Truth About Facebook’s Data Privacy Struggles

Facebook has brought data abuse to the top of everyone’s minds… but the truth about Facebook’s data privacy struggles? They are a part of a much bigger, industry-wide problem.

First, it was the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the third-party data firm had harvested the data of some 87 million Facebook users and used it to shape political outcomes in elections in both the U.S. and the U.K. More recently, Facebook executed the suspension of 200 apps pending what the company called a “thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data.” Apps that were found to have misused data will be banned, the company said.

But these two examples are just the tip of a very deep iceberg. The New York Times reported that Facebook has been sharing user data with device makers like Amazon, Blackberry, Microsoft and Apple for the past decade without user consent, despite Mark Zuckerberg sitting in the hot seat in front of Congress last month, promising otherwise.

You know how you can share a photo taken on your phone or tablet directly to Facebook without having to open the app? The Facebook icon appears on your device as one destination for the photo, along with your mail and messaging icons, right? Click on it and boom, you’ve shared your photo. That is this deal between Facebook and your device maker in action.

What nobody knew until now is, along with sharing that photo of your adorable pet getting into mischief, you’ve given the maker of your phone access to not only your data, but the data of all of your Facebook friends — even if you or they denied Facebook permission to share it. We’re talking about things like relationship status, political leanings, events you’re attending, education and more.

Anyone else see a Titanic-sized problem with this in relation to GDPR? The whole point of GDPR is to protect consumer data, and one big part of that is giving users the ability to opt in or out of data sharing. Posting a photo to Facebook from your phone isn’t exactly opting in.

In the wake of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook began to step back from some of the partnerships with device makers, but the majority remain in effect. The social media giant is also in the midst of scrutinizing app developers, and has suspended some 200 apps pending a review of their data practices. It seems like it’s not just Mark Zuckerberg in the hot seat, it’s data itself.

So, what does this all mean for marketers? Without customer data, life as we know it would grind to a halt, yet day after day there are new stories about massive data abuses, even with GDPR in effect, giving people real concerns about their personal information and privacy.

At Lineate, we’re committed to helping our customers use data responsibly. DataSwitch is designed to keep you in line with GDPR, and that means making sure your consumers either consent or don’t when it comes to things like receiving email promotions or other offers. DataSwitch gives you a central way of managing, tracking and optimizing customer consent by segment and channel. It can even generate consent pop-ups, which were a good idea before GDPR but now are a must.

To find out more about how you can get out in front of this data use-and-abuse storm, contact us about DataSwitch.

 

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