bigdog News

Our take on what the Facebook data breach means for marketers

March 2018

It’s been a rollercoaster couple of weeks for Facebook as the ripples of the Cambridge Analytica scandal were felt around the world. Two weeks on from the Observer leak, which indicted British data firm Cambridge Analytica as using ill-gotten Facebook profiles of 50 million users to swing the US election, the full scale of the breach (and indeed if it was even a data breach at all) is yet to be revealed.

 What is clear is that the story has been a catalyst for growing awareness of our relationship with big tech; specifically the amount of data that online platforms have stored on us and the seriousness with which they take their responsibility for safe-guarding our data.

 The most visceral expression of this growing awareness has been the #DeleteFacebook movement. The hashtag, which was trending worldwide on Twitter last week, hasn’t had a meaningful impact on the amount of users on Facebook. However, It’s significance as a protest against what it considers Facebook’s lack of responsibility for it’s users’ security is hard to deny.

As the story continues to unfold,  we’ve opened the floor to the entire bigdog team to better understand how it’s changed our relationship with Facebook and big data and how we use social media.


Has the media coverage revealed anything new about how Facebook handles user’s data?

"As a user, I always went on the assumption that they will/can see and use everything, which means I always have half a mind on what I do/post etc. GDPR won’t really make a difference to me. I will have to agree categorically to sharing my data as the price of being able to use the service."

 "I wasn’t too surprised by the news when it hit, but I felt that the alleged use of the data was cynical, and I think should be a wake-up call for everyone to be more aware of their digital footprint."

 "Not to the media and marketing community for the most part I don’t think. Something like this was probably inevitable to happen to one of the big tech giants that amass so much personal data – it just happened to be Facebook."

  "Facebook is trying to work out how to educate users about how it actually works. They’ve tried with things like ‘why am I seeing this ad’ however it’s not doing the job. There’s a huge amount of mythology around it."


Will this impact on the way marketers approach the use of Facebook as a communications channel?

 "If consumer behaviour changes, then of course marketers will think twice about using Facebook, and the level of data they use."

  " I would say in the long run it’s a good thing if it makes consumers more savvy of how their data is used, as it will lead to the onus being back on businesses to do the hard work rather than rely mainly on data profiling and targeting."

 "For many small local businesses, Facebook is the lifeblood of their targeted marketing. I can’t see these people leaving the platform if it delivers results. It’s important to note that the main benefit for marketers on digital platforms is how targeted campaigns can be. This will likely always come at the expense of people’s personal data to a certain extent."


Is the news likely to only affect Facebook, or will it impact on other big tech service providers and the digital media community as a whole?

"People are becoming more digital savvy and the services these companies provide to marketers depends on a certain level of ignorance of the user. If the outcome of the meeting between Facebook and ISBA produces a user data management framework for the future, then it’s easy to see this being used as an agreeable precedent for other platforms."

 "I imagine, as we move more towards technology led lives and data becomes (even more) intrinsic to our lifestyles there will be more instances where things go ‘too far’. However, today’s ‘too far’ is the norm for tomorrow."

 "We can be certain that the entire digital world is watching developments intently and reviews on data access and processing are sure to be taking place. Ultimately though, the power lies with the user, and I can’t see a situation where a generation that has become so acclimatised to always-on digital access reverts back."