Social Media and Data Privacy

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Social Media and Data Privacy

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With digital marketing becoming extremely widespread, data is increasing at an unprecedented rate.  Data that needs to be stored and protected.  For social media marketing, that duty falls to the platform.  That means that they must be trustworthy, and problems arise when they are not.

Though another dilemma is usually not though of by average users, flaws in the platforms’ codes.  While code is relatively simple to check -when compared to the ethics of employees and advertisers- the sheer volume and scope of social media platforms make it likely that a mistake will be missed and implemented into the system.  Now most of these will be harmless and negligible, almost none will break the platform because the companies vigorously test that type of code, but a few mistakes will leave data unprotected.

Usually errors leaving data unprotected only leave a little data exposed in an outlying case.  For example, in August of this year Facebook’s pixel helper allowed advertisers to search other advertisers’ aggregate conversion data from Facebook ads to their websites.  Facebook fixed the bug later that month, but it adds to a list of lapses in data security for the platform.

Most errors are promptly fixed by social media platforms, and many people are employed to check the code post release, nevertheless it would be better if the errors never happened in the first place.  Unfortunately, the only way to avoid future errors is even more relentless testing of code before its release.  It will be costly, but in the long term it will make users trust the platforms and use them more -which is needed if they are to stay in their current business models.

More on Facebook error mentioned above: https://marketingland.com/facebook-bug-allowed-some-advertisers-to-access-other-facebook-analytics-app-data-248065      More on how Facebook checks for errors post code release: https://techcrunch.com/2018/09/17/facebook-expands-bug-bounty-program-to-third-party-apps-and-websites/


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