If you aren’t living under a rock, or even worse – you don’t have internet access, you know that Facebook has been in hot waters. Global concerns over data security and the ethical use of data by social media platforms and advertisers have been doing the rounds across leading dailies, prime time news, WhatsApp groups and even the conference rooms of digital ad agencies. Where does that leave the advertisers, consumers and social media users at large?
There are many things that Facebook could have done to avert the crisis – and the whole world has been chipping in with their suggestions. I feel that one area where Facebook could have done better is – reacting to the crisis.
There was NOTHING from Zuckerberg or Team Facebook for several days. Being forerunners in the digital world, people expected better than radio silence. Facebook should have been more reactive and proactive. Since they took so much time to comment, a lot more theories and rumours started to spread, and the situation worsened for Facebook. On the Indian version of Facebook, many even fell for the ‘Type BFF to secure your FB data’ rumour. For now, with the announced changes, they have done the needful.
Ideally, the immediate corrective action should be undertaken by the team. They could have banned advertisers who misuse data, set up a special investigative team who reports every learning with the press, or maybe Zuckerburg himself could have gone LIVE on Facebook to speak to users across the world.
Data has always paved the way for better advertising. When relevant information reaches relevant people, everybody wins. While ethical and responsible use of data is expected of platforms, consumers should also remember that there are no free lunches. Consumers are cautious and temporarily, advertisers are cautious, too. It will get better with time.
With the increased awareness, people will be more careful with the data that they share, and with the new announcements and updates, the misuse of data will be avoided. Brands have used data for good and with additional security measures, advertising will only become better.
So, while we are becoming a ‘Digital India’ and while India is the World’s largest data consuming market, it is crucial to be data vigilant and only accept the permissions which you might be truly comfortable with.
After all, data is the new ‘oil’ and it is important to keep your ‘well’ secure and leak-free.
Shrenik Gandhi, CEO, and Co-Founder, White Rivers Media