Live from OMMA Social: But Enough About Me: Maintaining Privacy in Social Media

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Jun 23, 2009
More Articles by Janet


This was the final panel of the day, moderated by David Berkowitz of 360i and featured Farid Chaouoki of MRM Worldwide, Mike Germano of Carrot Creative, Gina Kim of IAB, and Surya Yalamanchili of SocialMedia.com.

Do consumers care about privacy?

Mike said doesn’t think consumers care about the information they put on Twitter and the like. They are constantly putting themselves out there.

Gina said that lots of people offer lots of info, and it’s important for advertisers to make consumers aware of what information and how it will be used. Farid agreed it is about transparency.

Surya said it all boils down to control. As long as consumers have control, via transparency, that’s what really matters. Mike said that hard core users of Facebook don’t care about controls though. Mike said that the people who care about control and privacy are the minority. Younger people assume that someone is taking their data.

Gina said though that you have to create a safe environment for all, even though there are hard core users.

A hearty debate ensued in which Mike really felt that most people do not worry about privacy, and if you’re concerned about privacy, you don’t belong on Facebook. The rest of the panel seemed to feel that there is some concern about privacy and that networks and platforms have to think about it to be responsible players.

When should users be notified of privacy policy/usage?

Surya said that they often notify when the action happens. Through transparency, the social ecosystem as a whole can be kept healthy. Gina emphasized that it is important for advertisers to work together to create standards. Farid added that users realize that data may be taken for free content, and people do not mind it.

Mike said that’s a double-edged sword — to target an ad, you have to gather information about the user. Gina said that consumer education can help this issue — the industry must self-regulate.

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