Another Facebook data breach: What does this mean for users?

Most social media users are concerned about privacy, and these concerns surfaced once again over the last few weeks when Facebook announced it had experienced its biggest data breach in history.

What happened?

On September 28, Facebook announced cyber attackers gained full access to around 50 million Facebook accounts. A further 40 million accounts were deemed “at risk”. Around 300,000 Australians are thought to have been part of those numbers. In response, Facebook logged these 90 million users out of their accounts and asked them to log back in, with a notification of the breach appearing on their newsfeeds.

On October 12, Facebook announced that it was in fact only 29 million users who were directly affected. Of these 29 million, the attackers took profile information from 14 million users, including birth dates, employers, education history, religious preference, types of devices used, pages followed and recent searches and location check-ins. The remaining 15 million users could be considered lucky, with their data breach restricted to name and contact details.

The social media giant claims it doesn’t know who the attackers were nor what their motivation was. The breach was a result of three vulnerabilities in the app being exploited simultaneously to allow the hackers access to accounts. 

For the biggest data breach in history, there doesn’t seem to be as much discussion about it as would be expected. Could it be that we’re becoming used to it? Perhaps it’s the ‘that won’t happen to me’ mentality that subsides a big reaction.

Or as CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan put it: “I think we all have data breach fatigue.”

Even Googling ‘Facebook data scandal’ churns out article after article about the data breach from March this year, rather than what’s described as the biggest data breach in history.

Previous data-breach cases

One of the most notable cases of data breaching happened in March 2018. The Guardian reported that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that “uses data to change audience behaviour”, had harvested the personal data of more than 87 million Facebook users.

Most of the controversy surrounds Cambridge Analytica’s use of the data to influence voter behaviour in the 2016 election, likely helping Trump become president and also impacting the Brexit.

The data was breached via the personality quiz app ‘thisisyourdigitallife’. Users consented for the app to collect their data when they took the quiz, but they did not consent for information to be collected from each of their Facebook friends, which is what ultimately occurred. So, of the 87 million people involved, only 270,000 people used the app. Furthermore, data of 300,000 Australians was also collected from the 52 users who allegedly used the app.

Do users even care?

#DeleteFacebook began trending on Twitter during the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, urging users to take a stand.

But the number of Facebook users remains steady, despite a survey following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and before the latest data scandal revealing that 81 percent of users have little to no confidence in Facebook protecting their data and privacy.

Even with all the security breaches, Facebook is a communication tool providing too much convenience for many to delete.

Impact on marketers

The data breaches – whether by hackers or third-party apps – have diminished the trust between consumers and marketers in most cases, resulting in users sharing less private information. This will make it harder for marketers to establish targeted ads, resulting in an increased cost to improve reach to relevant audiences. To establish (or re-establish) trust with consumers, it’s essential for marketers and advertisers to show transparency and accountability.

Are you safe?

To find out if your account has been breached, go to the Facebook Help Centre and access an article about Facebook’s recent security incident. If you scroll to the bottom, there is a message stating “Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?”. Here, you will find the answer regarding the status of your account.

So, what now? Do we log out of our accounts and call it a day?

It may not be that simple. Facebook has become so engrained in our culture that it’s almost impossible to delete. It has become a necessary platform to keep in touch with friends and family, used for work, education, and general engagement with the wider community. From organising events, sending group messages, to sharing thoughts, arguments and memories –  these simple conveniences are few of the reasons that make users turn a blind eye.

A Brave New World: How Facial Recognition Could Shape the Future of Marketing

The world of social media marketing is marked by anticipation of the “next big thing.” If the moves by Apple and Facebook this year have been anything to go by, facial recognition technology is a certain game changer.

We deep dive into the world of facial recognition and explore how some brands are already integrating this technology into their marketing.

Big-time Backers Set the Stage

Facial recognition hit the mainstream when Apple unveiled their iPhone X. The inclusion of 3D mapping (rather than the more basic 2D imaging) means this form of facial recognition will be more secure than previous editions. Users can use facial recognition to log in to their phones as well as using it for Apple Pay.

Facebook also jumped into the world of facial recognition this year. They’ve begun testing facial recognition as a way of allowing users to verify their identity when reclaiming their account after a lost password.

Meanwhile in China, the tech has really taken off with services like Face++ and Baidu. The Face++ technology is being used to transfer money, with just the users’ face as login credentials.

Baidu’s service lets users pick up train tickets from facial recognition machines, and they’re working on adding access to attractions and events.

Baby Steps: The Brands Using the Technology

While facial recognition technology is still in its infancy, a handful of brands are already experimenting with different ways to use the technology. It’s consistently proved to be effective at creating a more engaging experience for users.

South African coffee brand Douwe Egberts placed a dispensing machine at O.R. Tambo International Airport. The machine used facial scanning technology to detect people who yawned as they passed by. As they yawned, it dispensed a free cup of coffee. Watch below as word spread around the airport and travellers began queueing to use the machine.

Streets used facial recognition to promote the launch of the Magnum Infinity. Billboards across Australia were set up with an inbuilt camera to detect when users were smiling, before placing a virtual ice-cream in front of them. Users could pretend to bite down on the ice-cream while a photo of them chomping down was uploaded to the Streets Magnum Facebook page.

In Seoul, the International Finance Centre shopping mall set up LCD-screen kiosks with cameras and motion detectors. These kiosks used facial recognition to detect the gender and age of users. Users were then served with different ads for shops and restaurants based on their demographics. As the technology improves, we can only presume this kind of precise targeting will only become more widespread and commonplace.

Growing Pains: The Ethics of Facial Recognition

While facial recognition will allow marketers to provide a more tailored, customised experience for their audiences, facial recognition also raises many technical and ethical questions.

Many testers have already managed to dupe and break into facial recognition systems using photos, cheap glasses, and even special makeup.  

Privacy also becomes a major concern. If facial recognition apps can be embedded in any camera or recording devices, brands may eventually reach a stage where they’re able to perpetually track the movements and actions of their audience.

This lack of privacy could feel very much like a Big Brother situation. As technology advances faster than legislation, it remains to be seen what the social impact of facial recognition technology could be.

The Future is Bright

While it’s important to keep these issues in mind, the future is certainly bright for facial recognition. Soon, brands could be using the technology as the “cookie” of the future.

It could become to the most accurate way to target phone users and mall shoppers. After all, it’s much harder to change your face than it is to delete your browser history.

Different ads could be served based on a person’s moods, their recent foot traffic and any number of data-driven metrics.

Beyond the face, iris-scanning could become more commonplace, meaning the only log-in you’ll ever need is a scan of your eye.

In short, wherever the technology goes, it’s certainly one to keep an eye on.

Read next: A Robots the New Face of Customer Service

Here’s 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using 360 Video

As consumers’ appetite for a more immersive and personalised content experience grows, so does the need for 360 video. We’re taking cues from some of the brands that did it best. Here are 5 creative ways that you can use 360 videos in your marketing.

A Rewarding Experience  

Good storytelling is all about creating engagement and an immersive experience. 360 video gives marketers the necessary tools to create a sense of immediacy, emote their storytelling and therefore, develop deeper connections with their audience.

A recent study conducted by Google revealed that 360 videos often see lower completion rates, likely as a result of the higher level of user engagement required for viewing. However, this level of engagement is also what drives higher click-rates, shares and subscriptions than standard videos. 260 videos also achieved 47% higher view rates, meaning a lower cost-per-view for the advertiser.

1. Give them an experience

360 video gives audiences the opportunity to turn their dreams into a [virtual] reality and immerse themselves in the action. Take, for example, Samsung’s 360° Snowboard & Freeski Experience. Viewers were given the opportunity to glide down the slopes with Olympic snowboarders like Gian Simmen. Rather than being constricted to only one perspective, viewers had the opportunity to experience multitudes of scenes.

Therefore 360 video is key for giving your audience the ability to create and control their own experience.

2. Develop Empathy

We believe there is no better way to develop empathy than to walk in someone else’s shoes. Therefore, 360 video is a key tool for charities and not-for-profits to educate their audiences and improve their understanding of the cause.

This incredible 360 video from the National Autism Society put the viewer in the shoes of someone diagnosed with autism. It allows the audience to experience what it feels like to be overwhelmed by light and sound.

3. Exclusive Access

Take your audience behind the scenes with 360 video and grant them exclusive access to reveals and events. Show them how your product is made, take them on a journey through your office or use 360 video to give them an all-access pass to an exclusive launch.

We love Jason Wu’s all-access pass to his Fall 2016 show at New York Fashion Week.

4. FOMO

If there’s one thing social media is great for, it’s driving a fear of missing out. The immediacy of 360 video allows marketers create FOMO and use it as a key tool to pique their audience’s interest.

One of our favourite examples comes from Tomorrowland, one of Europe’s premiere EDM festivals. The festival organisers released a 360 video showing off their 2014 show, it’s no wonder it captured the attention of over nine million viewers.

5. Capture imagination

Capturing the imagination of your audience is easier if your content wows and awes them. Think about how different angles, shots and editing techniques can be used to enhance the immediacy and emotive capabilities of 360 video to create aspirational content.

In essence, 360 video challenges us to rethink our perspectives, blurring the distinction between the possible and impossible. The emotive abilities of 360 video and its ability to offer a new way of seeing are what makes it such a key tool to brand storytelling. The tourism industry does it best. This example from Expedia opens up a new world of possibility to the audience and captures their imagination with sweeping vistas and bright colours.

Read next: Cause Marketing- Why Brands Need to Take a Social Stance.

Are robots the new face of customer service?

In a world where we can order gourmet meals at the touch of a button and chat to friends around the world in real time, it’s no surprise that consumers also expect brands to be readily available 24/7. So how are brands using social technology to rise to the challenge?

Chatbots

The kind of innovation that signals the beginning of the robot takeover for many, Chatbots are forms of artificial intelligence integrated with messaging apps like Kik, WhatsApp and Line that create personalised one-to-one interactions. These automated messaging bots help consumers do everything from ordering food to paying bills.

Chatbots are a new kind of communication that diverge from social media mass messaging to automated personalised communication.

“Chat apps will come to be thought of as the new browsers; bots will be the new websites,” said Ted Livingston, founder of Kik.“This is the beginning of a new Internet.”

Taco Bell, for example, eliminated the need to download the Taco Bell app to order food. Users are able to TacoBot on messaging platform Slack, and can even receive recommendations while they place their order.

This kind of ‘at your fingertips’ access to information is what makes Chatbots such a revolutionary social technology. They allow brands to be there for every part of the consumer journey, meaning an opportunity to interact with customers is rarely missed.

Platform innovations

Facebook

A brand’s Facebook business page is the equivalent of a business shop front across social media. Recently, Facebook launched a new look for business for brand pages, a cleaner look akin to a webpage which makes the page’s call-to-action button – like “Sign Up” or “Shop Now” – much more prominent.

These new features bring avenues of communication to the fore and make it easier for consumers to converse with the business or brand, highlighting the shift in consumer expectations towards personalised interactions across social platforms.

Twitter

Many businesses across Twitter use the platform as a customer support service. It’s not uncommon to see users tweet to a brand about customer service issue with the expectation that the brand will respond with a solution.

This method of communication has recently changed, with the introduction of a new feature that foregrounds a “Messaging” button, thereby encouraging consumers to start their conversations with brands via direct message instead of on a Twitter public feed. Personalising the communication between consumers and brands will do wonders in terms of removing angry Tweets from a brand’s profile, yet also highlights the consumer’s craving for personalised service and communications.

Brand Integration

Customer conversations are more than an opportunity for brands to strengthen their relationship with consumers, these interactions are also an invaluable source of data. Integrated forums are rising in popularity as a tool for brands to gain insights in consumer sentiment. Often integrated with a brand website, these forums enable consumers to hold brand-related discussions amongst themselves, giving the brand the opportunity to closely monitor sentiment and jump in only when they deem necessary.

The global outdoor clothing brand, Patagonia, collaborated with Vanilla to create an integrated forum that allowed ambassadors to provide feedback about Patagonia products. Condensing the feedback into one channel enabled Patagonia to easily monitor consumer sentiment rather than trying to coalesce conversations across an array of channels. This tactic also created a direct pipeline of communication between the brand and consumers.

The kind of information gained from these forums is invaluable for brands looking to improve their service offering and gain a competitive edge. For example, Dell’s IdeaStorm website has generated more than 420 customer ideas that have been implemented, contributing to the final design of Dell Mini notebook.

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