The proliferation of social media has given rise to raging debates about data privacy. Not surprisingly Facebook—arguably one of the first social media companies to monetize consumer data—has often found itself caught up in the controversy.
It would have been difficult to miss the media firestorm surrounding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 testimony before multiple congressional committees about the company’s data privacy practices. With headlines like “Mark Zuckerberg has lost all credibility with Congress—and the Rest of Us,” “Mark Zuckerberg Answers to Congress for Facebook’s Troubles,” and “Lawmakers Fed Up with Zuckerberg,” the general consensus was that the company was less-than-forthcoming about its practices and prioritized other things over its users’ privacy.
But could the tides be turning?
Facebook has recently unveiled a new tool which, as Politico’s Mark Scott puts it, “aims to give users greater control over how their data is used by third-party advertisers on the social networking company’s global platforms.” Initially launching in Ireland, Spain, and South Korea, the feature will allow users to choose that their accounts not be linked to other data collected on them as they browse other internet sites. As a result, other companies’ abilities to specifically target these users on Facebook will be diminished.
In a blog post on the new tool, Facebook wrote, “We expect this could have some impact on our business, but we believe giving people control over their data is more important.” It’s a bold statement, and a clear sign that Facebook is trying to regain users’ trust after its privacy practices were thrust into the spotlight.
Facebook has yet to publicly disclose when the new product will be available to other countries, and time will tell if and how much the move lessens the concerns users and regulators alike may still harbor about the company.
But one thing is certain—people now have a greater awareness of and expectations for data privacy and are increasingly holding the organizations with whom they share this information to a higher standard. As this trend of digital trust gains traction, it brings new avenues for businesses to nurture customer relationships and identify new revenue opportunities.
Take a look at this previous APEX post for more on this concept and how organizations can determine how they are performing in regards to digital trust.