In the light of the recent Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal, Facebook went through PR hell. Due to negligence in part of the social media company, user data of several Facebook users were siphoned. This was then sold off to the data analytics firm - Cambridge Analytica.
Why is this so troubling?
Well, Cambridge Analytica had a huge hand to play during in Trump’s Electoral Campaign in 2016.
So Facebook essentially neglected in protecting their user’s data and information. For this reason, user data belonging to over 87 million people were compromised.
In the wake of this knowledge, the company’s market value fell by over $58 billion in a week.
Then the #deleteFacebook movement took off, and well-known figures started boycotting the platform.
Mark Zuckerberg, at first disappeared into obscurity but then appeared and is still called by lawmakers and congressmen.
Nobody wants to go through this mess now do they? And even though Facebook might have learned their lesson, we too can expand our knowledge from this mishap.
So, for the purpose of this read, we have put together a list of the most important things to take away from the Facebook - Cambridge Analytica scandal.
1. The Need For Transparency With Your Users
Legitimate companies are conducting many dubious campaigns. In this situation, it is now more important than ever to let your users know how their data is being handled.
Generally collected user data is used for personalizing ad campaigns and marketing offers. However, the user needs to know that none of the information they provide will be misused.
Such a transparent approach will create a level of trust between you and your user base, and help you avoid suspicious eyes.
2. The Need For An “opt-IN” And “opt-OUT” Privacy
After the user has been let known as to how their data will be used by the service provider, the next task is to give these users control over their own data. This is to say; a person should have more authority other their personal information than the company it is sharing it with.
This can be achieved by clearing stating how a user can opt out from the data sharing deal they participated in. The process should be easy and clearly stated.
3. The Threat Of Misinformation and Manipulation
Misinformation has always been a localized issue, which could be efficiently handled by the respective community engagement professionals. However, we can now see that misinformation campaigns can leverage social media platforms and make an impact at a national or even international scale.
Organisations are spreading misinformation and manipulating content which is having a massive influence on how people are making decisions. It is time that we start scrutinizing data, and stop taking them at face value.
4. The Users Are More Connected Than Ever
87 million people had their data stolen while using an application. This single statement highlights just how much people are now connected with organizations.
Now, this can lead to more disasters similar to what happened in the CA incident. However, if the users remain conscious, and the organizations properly protect their users' data, then this connection can be used to catapult the success of the organization to all new heights.
5. The PR Team Should Be Prompt To React To Any Negative Statements
For whatever reason, Mark Zuckerberg stayed quiet for nearly five days before coming out and making an official statement on the matter. This will lead to PR disaster, which is exactly what happened with Facebook.
According to Hannah Butcher, a senior social media specialist, “Whether something is reported on social media, on a blog, or in the press, it’s important that all key members of the team are aware of the issue and buy into any management strategy to stop things from getting any worse.”
If you are not quick to defend yourself, your competition will bring your name down to the ground.
We hope you found this read to be helpful. Do share with your friends and family whom you know will benefit from this information.
Of course, there are plenty of other things that we can learn from the data harvesting scandal, but we felt this 5 deserves top picks. However, if you have more points to offer, then the comments section is an open space to start a discussion.
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