A Primer on GDPR + Social Media for 2019

In September of this year, I gave a talk at the Z-Wave Summit about how the new GDPR regulations, Facebook’s privacy scandals and how the social media landscape looks different in 2019. For those unfamiliar, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new data privacy regulation that aims to give individuals in the EU protection and control over their personal data. This affects how businesses can collect and use personal data and the policy took effect in the EU on May 25, 2018.

A few people asked – if it’s an EU based policy, why should we worry if we’re in the US? The truth is, GDPR is applicable to any organization with personal data of EU citizens and residents. So if you are a business with customers in the EU, the GDPR will be applicable to you when you are handling personal data of your EU customers. And, I believe GDPR is just the beginning. A law in California was passed at the end of June – dubbed the Consumer Privacy Act – is being called GDPR Lite and restricts what companies like Google and Facebook can do with the data of California residents. Several other states have introduced bills with similar language and intent.

TL;DR: laws like GDPR are here to stay.

But let’s back up a little. Prior to GDPR and the Facebook scandal that surfaced allegations towards a 3rd party data firm called Cambridge Analytica. When it came to light that personally identifiable data had been harvested and sold – and then used – illegally to advertise during the 2016 election. Facebook’s entire data and API policies came under scrutiny and a larger national conversation began about the right to privacy and how social media platforms use consumer data.

Between Facebook and GDPR regulations, consumer across the globe are thinking differently about how brands and companies are using their data and what they are willing to share and not share when given the option.

But the good news is, this heightened awareness can actually work in your favor. Here’s why.

  • Greater trust:Your customers will know what data of theirs is collected and how it will be used.
  • Better email engagement:Only people who are interested in and who choose to opt-in to your email will receive your content.
  • Improved marketing experience:Better experience for consumers online = more receptive to ads / campaigns.

This will benefit all businesses that do online marketing. The time is now for brands to lead the way in transparency. Whether you are collecting data for marketing purposes or – you’re a smart home brand that wants to be clear with how you are using your customer’s data – don’t wait until a scandal breaks or questions about the security and privacy of their information is called into question.

For more information about GDPR, check out resources here, or tweet me!

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