Facebook, and the big privacy breach. Again.

By: and |
New Delhi | April 9, 2018 10:16 PM

When news of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data leak broke, users of the platform knew they had been ‘sold’ as a product. Brands knew they could be caught in the cross fire.

There are many things that Facebook could have done to avert the crisis. (Reuters)

When news of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data leak broke, users of the platform knew they had been ‘sold’ as a product. Brands knew they could be caught in the cross fire. Facebook took, what felt like an eternity in the social media world, to put out some sort of a response. BrandWagon spoke to industry experts to make sense of the fallout

‘Ban advertisers who misuse data’: Shrenik Gandhi, Co-founder, White Rivers Media

There are many things that Facebook could have done to avert the crisis — and the whole world has been chipping in with their suggestions. One area where it would have done better was — reacting to the crisis. There was nothing from (Mark) Zuckerberg or Team Facebook for several days. Since it is a forerunner in the digital world, people expected better than radio silence. It should have been more reactive and proactive. The delay to comment gave room to a lot of theories; rumours spread and the situation worsened for FB.For now,
with the announced changes, it has done the needful.

Immediate corrective action should be undertaken by the team — ban advertisers who misuse data and set up a special investigative team which reports every learning with the press. Zuckerberg could go 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. In fact, according to a recent report, social media ad spends are set to overtake TV spends by2020.

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.
‘Should look at this as a warning’: Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO — South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network

There is a natural progression towards digital in India. Today, a consumer has almost five times the bandwidth at a very low cost as compared to a couple of years ago. We are close to 400 million internet users which is going to reach half a billion soon. So, digital advertising will continue to grow faster than traditional advertising — traditional advertising is going to grow at 10-12%, whereas digital advertising is likely to grow at 25-30%.
Having said that, there are two concern areas here. First and foremost, there is no single measurement currency/common metric. If there is a common metric then some element of discipline comes in because currently, someone might look at one or two seconds of an ad and count it as watched while another would look at, say, 10 seconds. We need to agree on a platform like there is BARC for TV measurement or IRS for print.

Secondly, the issue of transparency in the medium. Fake news as well as the current FB episode and similar mistakes shake the confidence of not only advertisers but agencies as well. Therefore, big publishers and tech giants have to get together to clean it up. It is not going to be an easy task as there have been quite a few mischief makers in the past. We have to tighten the system and bring in more accountability and transparency.

Fortunately, India has not been impacted significantly even though a lot of cases have been reported internationally. But there is no guarantee that it will not happen in India. Therefore, as our numbers become larger and spends grow, automatically the same pressures will come into our market. In the short term, I don’t think there will be an impact of this crisis in India but in the long term if such things continue, then an advertiser will definitely question things. We should look at this as a warning and set our house in order before something drastic occurs here as well.

‘Seek specific consent from users’: Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer, Aditya Birla Capital

Social media has become an integral part of the lives of people. It is an addiction, say many. But with every passing engagement, you are giving up your privacy, bit by bit. How many users are aware of this? And how many are deterred by this?

Most users of social media, I believe, are so smitten with the joys of networking that they are not even aware or conscious of their privacy being invaded. And for those who are, it is seen as something that happens to “them”, and so does not bother “me”. I do not see an exodus of users from social platforms, prompted by this concern. While there is a lot of buzz in recent days in the media, my belief is that most users remain untouched and unmoved about the fact that it should be of concern to them, because it concerns them and their privacy. The few who are rightly concerned may withdraw. But like every addiction, the question is — for how long will they abstain?

On the other hand, I believe that social networking giants have a responsibility to make their users aware of the data they capture and what they do with this data. Just as all regulated entities do, they must seek specific consent from their users, basis this full and transparent disclosure, and should not tuck in the details in the fine-print. I do believe that this will be appreciated by the user and they then can take a knowledgeable decision, which in all probability will be to accept and move onto the next social post.

It is but natural for a marketer to be cautious, because he has the interests of his consumer top of mind. So a wait and watch approach is what I foresee. Where individual users may fail to be heard, large advertisers should come together to add the pressure on networking giants for speedy and full disclosure.


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