Facebook’s Privacy Pivot: Evolving Towards GDPR Compliance

The GDPR has significant implications for how brands collect and handle customer information. But what exactly is the GDPR and what does it mean for you? 

Join us as we explore how the GDPR principles will shape the future of digital marketing, and how you can adapt your marketing strategies to align with them.


Navigating Meta’s Privacy-First Vision


Decoding Zuckerberg’s Blueprint for Private Interactions

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced by the European Union (EU) on May 25, 2018. It provides consistent data protection rules across Europe and applies to all companies that process personal data about individuals in the EU, regardless of where the company is located.


GDPR protects personal data, including:


  • Identity information such as name and address 
  • Web data such as location, IP address, and cookie data
  • Health and genetic data 
  • Racial or ethnic data 
  • Political opinions 
  • Sexual orientation


In the following years, social media platforms such as Facebook began to update their data protection principles. In 2019, Mark Zuckerberg outlined Facebook’s vision for building a privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform. The key principles introduced were:


  • Private interactions 
  • Encryption 
  • Reducing Permanence
  • Safety
  • Interoperability
  • Secure data storage


The privacy policy for Instagram was also updated to reflect Meta’s privacy-focused vision.


Understanding Encryption and Reduced Permanence


Encryption was one of the main principles introduced by Mark Zuckerberg as part of his ‘privacy-focused vision for social media’. This involves implementing end-to-end encryption across the Facebook app. 

This will limit what Facebook can see and limit its ability to target advertising in messaging services. Encryption refers to the process of converting text into hashed code using a key, and the information only becomes readable again using the correct key. 

Encryption protects information from being accessed by third parties who do not have the correct key. Facebook’s implementation of end-to-end encryption involves ensuring that no one (including Facebook itself) can see users’ private communications.

Zuckerberg also plans to reduce permanence by implementing new ways for photos and videos to expire over time. He explained that people should be comfortable being themselves and not have to worry about what they share coming back to hurt them. As such, Meta would not keep messages or stories around for longer than necessary.


Implications for Digital Marketers in the GDPR Era


Rethinking Targeting: The Shift Toward Constructive Communication

In the GDPR era, marketers can no longer use an individual’s profile and identity for precise targeting. However, they’ll still be able to use contextual advertising to target people based on the content they are searching for.

The GDPR also has important implications for email marketing. If you send marketing emails to your customers, you must always ensure that they’ve consented to receive these emails (opted in) and you must include the option to unsubscribe (opt-out) on all emails.

Brands can no longer rely on data collected from third-party sources, and data must be collected with the consent of the users (first-party data). Implied consent is a thing of the past, and brands are now required to obtain explicit consent, which is separate from ToS or privacy policy consent. 

In compliance with the GDPR, users retain the right to withdraw their consent at any time. Brands are obligated to promptly delete the data of users who have chosen to withdraw their consent This shift highlights the GDPR’s commitment to ensuring that users have a clear understanding and control over how their data is used.

Non-compliance with the GDPR means you’ll risk facing significant fines.


Adapting Strategies: How Marketers Can Leverage Secure Data Practices

Before you jump onto Meta for Business and start your journey with Facebook ads, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of the GDPR principles you’ll be subject to. To start with, make sure you understand the regulations and how they apply to your brand. 

Once you’re familiar with the regulations, you can start taking steps to ensure that your marketing practices adhere to them. 

Prioritise Data Privacy Compliance

One of the main focuses of the GDPR is expanding the data privacy rights of customers, requiring businesses to be more transparent about how they use customer data. The GDPR also requires businesses to notify all affected parties and supervising authorities within 72 hours of a data breach. 

This swift notification timeframe aims to speed up the response to data breaches, enabling timely and effective measures to mitigate potential risks and uphold the security and privacy of individuals’ information.

 Implement Secure Data Storage Practices

Once you’ve collected customer data, it’s your responsibility to keep it secure. This involves implementing robust security measures to prevent unauthorised access or breaches. One of the key components of ethical data storage is to not keep data for longer than you need to. This means regularly reviewing the customer data you’ve collected and erasing it when you no longer need it. 

Abide by Ethical Data Practices

Although a lot of us are guilty of clicking ‘Agree’ to a lengthy Terms of Service (ToS) without reading the whole thing, ToS is actually an important part of maintaining data transparency. 

Make sure your ToS is easy to understand and avoid using confusing jargon. Your ToS should clearly outline what type of data you are collecting and why. Maintaining ethical data practices also involves prioritising user control. This involves giving users the ability to access, review, and update their data, as well as to know who has access to their data and how it is being used. 


To find out more about how you can get started with Facebook ads in the GDPR era, get in touch with us at hello@omdigigroup.com 

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