How the GDPR Spotlights Social Media Firms

Tech platforms may feel the burn

Social media companies may feel some pressure due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The EU’s GDPR went into effect in May, and it requires that companies obtain explicit permission from individuals to utilize their data. In a June survey of 1,850 consumers in the UK and the Republic of Ireland conducted by 3GEM and SAS, about two-thirds of respondents said they plan to either withhold permission from companies looking to share their personal data, reduce the amount of data that they personally share or review how companies utilize their data.

Nearly half of the respondents (43.6%) most wanted to remove their data from social media firms. Although the data that banks and insurance companies hold is more sensitive than what social media companies collect, financial services companies aren’t currently embroiled in a scandal over selling customer data to third parties.

“For consumers, the issue is more about their ability to trust companies not to misuse data than about the specific types of data the companies hold,” said Lisa Loftis, principal product marketing manager of customer intelligence at SAS.

About nine in 10 respondents were aware of Facebook’s data-sharing scandal with Cambridge Analytica. “Those industries that have seen historical data misuse, or the widespread sharing of data without clear consumer consent, are the most likely to receive GDPR requests,” SAS researchers said.

The GDPR has been driving people to think critically about digital privacy for several months now. In a February 2018 survey of 1,050 UK internet users conducted by The7stars, nearly 60% of respondents said GDPR is making them question how much of their data companies have.

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