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PMG Digital Made for Humans

Our Thoughts on Facebook’s User Privacy Scandal

5 MINUTE READ | March 29, 2018

Our Thoughts on Facebook’s User Privacy Scandal

We expect Facebook to take several actions to address not just recent data privacy issues, but forthcoming regulation in the U.S. and E.U. PMG will keep clients apprised and provide our viewpoints on the impact of those changes.

The recent Facebook privacy scandal brought quite the limelight to the platform and advertisers that use it, and for good reason. Armed with the right technology, digital marketing practitioners have the ability to gain a level of digital omniscience over their target demographics and audience. This knowledge helps brands make good decisions, but if utilized for the wrong reasons, can endanger relationships, and violate people’s fundamental rights to privacy. Just as the General Data Privacy Regulation will do in the European Union, in the digital space, there will always be new developments and technological advancements that will strengthen data privacy policies to better protect people from malicious acts online.

The claim that Cambridge Analytica’ and SCL Group’s use of Facebook data for ad targeting was a data breach is completely false.

Back in 2015, Facebook learned that a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan lied and violated Facebook’s Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to third-parties like SCL/Cambridge Analytica.
Like all app developers, Kogan requested and gained access to information from users who chose to sign up for his app, and everyone involved gave their consent. Since people knowingly provided their information, no systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive information were stolen or hacked.
Even though Kogan accessed this user information through proper channels, he did not abide by Facebook’s rules, leading to suspension. Once discovered by Facebook, his app was removed, and Facebook demanded certifications from Kogan and all involved third-parties that the information had been destroyed.
Despite receiving the certifications three years ago, last week, Facebook was made aware that not all the data was deleted. While acting to determine the accuracy of this claim, Facebook suspended SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan from Facebook, pending further information.
Sourced from Facebook. For more information on this story, click here.

Following this event several years ago, Facebook updated their App Review process, revisited and strengthened their compliance policies, and enabled tools for people to better control their social media experience and the accessibility permissions they grant the apps they use.

Beyond those initial adjustments, in the past several years, Facebook has created the Bug Bounty Program, gathered and implemented feedback from the Facebook Community and consistently adjusted their interfaces to better protect people’s information from bad actors in the advertising space.

At PMG, we only partner with the most trustworthy agency partners and vendors because brands need to know where their money is being spent, why it’s being spent there, and how people’s data is being used in advertising. With a performance data-driven model, deep technical acumen and consumer behavior insights to guide us, we provide an unparalleled level of transparency to media buying and digital advertising; doing our best to safeguard clients from ad fraud and data privacy violations. We take pride in our work, and we prefer to partner with people who do the same.

We want everyone’s online interactions to be of value, and by keeping content engaging and relevant for its intended audience, we aim to educate users about our clients’ offerings and empower them towards true engagement.

By paying great respect to the consumers’ intelligence and desires, we strive to keep our brands’ advertisements and content relevant to not only the target audience but everyone who engages with our clients online. To do this, we utilize only the best market research and consumer behavior insights in the industry to advise our agency-wide advertising philosophies and methodologies.

At a very high-level, the Audience Management Platform helps PMG clients offer a more intimate, personal experience for every person who engages with our brands online; acting as a connector between CRM data and audience-based targeting capabilities found in search and social channels.

A holistic cross-channel approach to marketing, we utilize first-party data to build precise audience segments based on the audience concerns of our clients ahead of time that’s ready for activation across channels to ensure the right people are receiving the right prospecting or sequential messaging from our brands. AMP allows us to activate both behavior and non-behavioral audience segments across platforms like Facebook, AdWords or Twitter within hours of a person’s first experience with one of our brands.

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It is our belief that Facebook is and will continue to be a trustworthy agency partner. Like any industry, there will be bad actors in the space attempting to use the services for unethical purposes. It is our responsibility as advertisers to not only use the technology for good but empower others to do the same. Thanks to developments like Community Standards and the Bug Bounty Program, the Facebook community as a whole is working together to make the platform safer for everyone.


Posted by Nick Drabicky

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