Event Management

Data Misuse: What We Can All Learn From The Facebook Scandal

October 4th, 2018

A Lesson To Be Learned – A Reformed Look On Data Misuse

The words on everyone’s lips – data misuse. The reform of the Data Protection Act in Europe has become a watershed event in 2018 for a culmination of legal, ideological and political reasons. On the 25th of May, the renewed act witnessed strict changes to the provision of processing personal data, which would concern how data is retrieved, stored and destroyed. During this period data misuse has presented an unavoidable topic of discussion for software companies and social media platforms who handle personal data. At EventBank, changes in the law concerning data is important to us, so our online blog seeks to acknowledge how these changes came about and why they are important.

The Facebook Scandal

Arguably, the Facebook scandal this year has been the catalyst to the refocusing of data misuse in our modern society. In 2015, Facebook failed to notify users their data was being retrieved and stored by an app designed by Cambridge Analytics. CA was a political firm who worked closely with the Donald Trump Campaign in the 2016 presidential election. This app named thisisyourdigitalife used Facebook as a bridge to gain access to the user’s information. The database would collect information such as email addresses and likes from the user’s profile, then build a portfolio of personality traits. This was then collated to create marketing material specifically targeted at the user. It has been argued to have played a significant role in influencing the user and their political swing during the 2016 US presidential campaign. Consequently, the scandal led to a criminal investigation that resulted in the dissolution of the company on May the 1st.

The backlash Facebook received from the scandal revealed a public consciousness that acknowledged the wrongdoing of data misuse. The Guardian investigated how an international group called ‘The Faceblock campaign’ urged users to boycott certain apps like Instagram and WhatsApp for 24 hours following the scandal. These pressure groups are important to consider because they reveal how this modern generation is both responsive and willing to educate the broader public on data misuse. Their presence and contribution may be considered critical in how they can influence broader trends, changing the way internet users use social media platforms. Indeed, these responses are what undermine and economically damage platforms like Facebook. Therefore, the scandal may be considered a defining example of the high risks and consequences involved when well-established companies fail to abide by data protection laws.

Now in the post-scandal period, it may be insightful to oversee how Facebook will rebuild its trust with the public and restore confidence for its users when using the platform. Having said this, Facebook is now well underway with changing their data protection policies and further information on this can be found at Facebook Business.

New and Emerging Relationships?

The Facebook scandal should prompt important discussion for EventBank members to engage with, particularly for our branches in Asia. Indeed, Facebook is banned in Mainland China, though there have been significant developments this year. An article published by The Verge has investigated this, which states Facebook has obtained a license to open an office in China, located in the city of Hangzhou. The source adds, Facebook will make small investments and give advice to local businesses. For EventBank, these are critical developments, especially when we at EventBank use Facebook as a platform to promote our marketing materials. More broadly, this reveals a significant leap for China as they open a door to allow Western thinking to penetrate its market. Facebook could critically offer a financial incentive for Chinese investors, where perhaps the platform could open a gateway for both business and cultural exchanges.

However, in light of recent events related to data misuse, it will be interesting to witness what happens next for Facebook’s hold in China. Perhaps Facebook’s stay in China could be short-lived, or significant changes may take place in order for the platform to remain. Again, it is necessary we at EventBank understand what these changes or developments may mean since we utilize the platform to promote our events and email campaigns.

In the next coming months, it is certain there will be many watchful eyes on this potentially new and emerging relationship.

EventBank’s Code and Conduct

The effects of the Facebook scandal will stretch beyond the Western hemisphere and will present a sharp learning curve for all internet users. As an international company, EventBank does come into contact with personal data, so changes in the law is critical to our acknowledgment. At EventBank we value our enriched relationships and networks with the broader world, where at the heart of this success is honest communication (explore EventBank values). We do this by promoting respect, kindness and utmost integrity when openly expressing ourselves. Thus, data misuse has not, and will not, ever hold a place on our platform.

EventBank understands data misuse as a violation to both our clients and employee’s privacy, so we, therefore, work hard to protect and maintain it. We ensure this information is clearly accessible, communicated and understood through our approach of transparency. For those who need to question, comment or retrieve information about our security measures, we make readily available.

Below are some measures EventBank enforces related to data protection (learn more about EventBank Security)

  • In terms of payments being made, no credit card information is stored on our databases. This immediately eliminates the risk of information being retrieved or manipulated in any capacity.
  • Our platforms are DDoS supported, along with firewalls to prevent our system from encountering harmful malware.
  • Vulnerability assessments are also conducted on a consistent basis to check for potential cyber-attacks. Meaning, we don’t just rely on programs to do the work for us, we too actively pursue anything that threatens the code and conduct of our work.

A Fine Line

The Facebook scandal has crystallized important moral and ethical distinctions in relation to data misuse. After Facebook faced the iron fist of the US Congress, it can be said the consequences of data misuse are clear. Essentially, data misuse can damage the reputation of your business, destroying your credibility as a professional platform. In doing so, this reveals a serious neglect of modern digital thinking, a failure to educate a conceptualization of the basic ethical standards that should support your software platforms. Consequently, this can undermine and isolate your business on the market, as well as your employees and clients.

Comparably, when a company promotes and enforces data protection measures, their decision will carry authority and conviction. Law-abiding companies will present themselves as conscientious and forward thinking, attributes that illustrate a professionally driven and integrative business. With this being said, understanding these differences could critically draw the line between a companies success or ultimate downfall.

A Right To Privacy and It’s Misconceptions

Data protection is important and affects us all, regardless if you do or do not engage with social media platforms like Facebook. Unfortunately, issues with protecting our privacy can extend to all areas of our life, and sometimes we make poor and ill-informed decisions to guard it. In our modern society, these poor decisions are greatly influenced by popular misconceptions. A common misconception is the idea you can find a computer application that reliably secures all of your devices for the charge of absolutely nothing. Here at EventBank, we have sadly responded to many clients who have downloaded these misleading platforms. In practice, they are poorly constructed systems, which do not retain powerful enough features to help protect against harmful malware. At EventBank, we encourage our clients and employees to conduct a thorough research for credible applications that guarantee maximum security and protection. Equally, we hope the Facebook scandal will prompt more of us to think carefully about the applications we choose to use and how far they will go to protect our right to privacy (find out how EventBank thinks about CSR).

Data Misuse Matters

But why should we care? We live in the age of technology, an era that is continuously engaging with fast pace and innovative technological advancements. As a result, technology forms part of our everyday life and is the lifeline to a majority of our daily operations. Thus, the more we build technology into our lives, the more control we need over it. Meaning, if we continue to engage and share our personal information online, then we must make it our responsibility to understand what this means for our right to privacy.  If we fail to educate ourselves about these developments and changes in data use, then our passivity may leave us vulnerable in this ever-growing technological world.

As we progress forward from the Facebook scandal, we hope there is a lesson to be learned about data misuse. A lesson learned not just for Facebook, but a universal lesson for us all to engage with and pay attention to. Ultimately, together we can we can work harder to educate each other and strive to better our tech world.

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