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The Evolving Landscape of Data Ownership

The Evolving Landscape of Data Ownership

Last week it was announced that Facebook had incurred a £500,000 fine for its part in the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, and its breach of GDPR. Whilst seemingly a significant sum, to Facebook, this is the equivalent of a fiver. Back in 2014, Facebook was also fined £94m for its breach of using people’s Whatsapp connections to suggest Facebook friends. Again, Facebook flippantly paid the fee.

Why is it that Facebook is so nonchalant about paying off these fines? To start off, they made £30bn in revenue in 2017, which amounts to roughly a fifth of the global online ad market. This seems like small change to them, and they’re happy to take a few slaps on the wrist for racking up all that data.

Where to from here?

Whilst tech companies surreptitiously continue to accumulate and refine data, it now seems like data is the Pandora’s Box of 2018. Slowly and more evidently, gears are starting to turn to perhaps move away from this over-monopolised, misused and previously undervalued commodity. Indeed this year, Europe’s decision makers have now introduced tougher regulations on data handling.

Following GDPR, communities have begun to spring up across the web where users are rewarded by publishers for their attention. The Brave web browser, from the same creator as Mozilla Firefox, rewards users for their attentiveness towards ads. It’s an ecosystem built on awareness and control of one’s data, rather than apathy and passiveness.

Whilst some may say ‘so what’, or that these types of developments are insignificant, data will surely continue to be central, and a morphing digital by-product over the next few years.
It will be interesting to see how Facebook and other data run platforms adapt to the new regulations on data, and whether it will affect the way we buy online and social media advertising.

David Baxter
Online Account Manager

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