By Tim Kane
In the wake of the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has been under a lot of pressure, from critics and consumers and governments around the world, to change how they commercialize their users’ private data.
Now, as you know, at ICR we’ve been using Facebook and the other major social platforms to develop social influencer campaigns for our clients, to place promoted posts and actual ads in the feeds of targeted audiences. So we’ve been closely watching the developments.
Last Friday, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a.k.a. the ePrivacy Initiative, went into effect in the UK, France and Germany. This regulation severely limits how websites, social networks, apps and brands can collect and share their users’ private data.
In response, Facebook announced several major changes, to try to bring their business practices in line with the new limits:
Partner Categories: This is a form of audience targeting which allows third-party data aggregators, like Experian and Acxiom, to provide data about offline purchasing activity. Starting July 1st, Facebook will no longer offer this in European Union countries, and by October 1st, it’ll be phased out everywhere.
Custom Audiences: This is a type of audience you create with data from a brand’s existing customers and upload to Facebook. We used to be able to share this data freely, but from now on, we’ll need explicit permission.
Lookalike Audiences: This is a way to reach new people who are similar to your best existing customers. This is the method that we at ICR have been using most frequently –– and the good news is, Facebook is making no changes here.
Would these changes have prevented abuses like Cambridge Analytica’s? Actually, no. But many industry observers see this as Mark Zuckerberg’s attempt to get ahead of legislators in the US, to avoid even more draconian measures.
Clearly, this isn’t the end of the issue. We’ll keep you posted on future developments.