Facebook Flip-Flopping on GDPR

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With GDPR on the horizon, Zuckerberg in Congress testifying and Facebook users questioning loyalty, change is coming. What that change will look like, well, it appears we just have to wait and see. Still a bit unclear, as “The Social Network,” is wishy washy on its official stance on the piece of European Union legislation. It’s nice of Facebook to explain the General Data Protection Regulation, but based on recent behavior, my glass is half-empty.

Facebook is developing a variant of GDPR regulations for the global scale. Zuckerberg, however, did not clarify, which European privacy guarantees would be part of the social media’s standard,in a recent phone interview with Reuters. Facebook keeps choosing to learn the hard way, as its American users may be frustrated now with the Cambridge Analytica kerfuffle; only time will tell what comes to pass when Zuckerberg’s policy is eventually put in place.

Zuckerberg noted, “Is it going to be exactly the same format? Probably not. We’ll need to figure out what makes sense in different markets with different laws in different places. But let me repeat this, we’re going to make all the same controls and settings available everywhere, not just in Europe.” Then hours later, a company spokesperson changed the tune a bit, stating Facebook plans to comply fully with GDPR rules around the globe, not merely making the controls and settings available.

Speaking of Cambridge Analytica scrambling and safeguards, TechCrunch reported a Custom Audiences Certification Tool in development behind Facebook’s curtain. Facebook spokesperson, Elisabeth Diana explained to TechCrunch that the tool will force advertisers and agencies to pledge that “I certify that I have permission to use this data.”

The difference between this and previous protections is “prominence” and advertiser education. Confirmed by MarketingLand, the tool will verify consent to use email addresses uploaded via Custom Audiences.

Diana was clear in her comments to the press, exclaiming these recent releases are not in any way coming as a result of recent events, but is simply a product of Facebook’s initiative toward improving protection over user information.

Considering the amount of advertising revenue Facebook takes in, a few safeguards here or there aren’t a bad thing. Additionally, Heather Bellini, a Goldman Sachs analyst believes the dawn of GDPR could take up to 7% of the European slice of this pie (24% of revenue).

As they say in certain rooms, “Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point.” Zuckerberg is at a crossroads. In an era where some companies are clearly taking advantage of customer trust, Facebook is given the opportunity to make good on its commitment, build back loyalty and seize the day.

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Edited by Mandi Nowitz
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