When Facebook was created, privacy was a given. Information was strictly controlled and only users from whom one accepted a friend request could view any identifying or contact details. Soon, things began to change. Brand pages were created and individuals without college email addresses could soon create accounts. The need for privacy rose dramatically. New controls were introduced and then eliminated. Lately, it seems as though most data was public domain, available for the masses.
Not all users are happy with the changes and, for the first time since complaints started to arise, Facebook seems to be listening.
What’s Going to Be Different
With the changes announced, the company is planning on testing various privacy controls that could alter the way information is shared from one user or brand to a specific audience. This will be different from the current format that allows users to select whether they want to share posts with the public or friends.
The new controls will give more insight while alerting users to what information is being shared with who on the network.
The tests will include drop-downs that are different from the aforementioned set up, with better definitions of each group and a pop-up feature that encourages users to check out their privacy settings and who has access to their information. Other proposed changes include moving intended audience labels to the top of posts to enable easier viewing on both desktops and mobile applications.
Why The Change?
Privacy has never been a larger concern than it is right now. Facebook users, like the general population, are concerned about who has access to their data, what information can be viewed by whom, and what is publically available.
Mike Nowak, product manager on Facebook’s privacy team, addressed these concerns. “There’s an unpleasant surprise when you share things thinking that they’re going to be seen by one audience and then somebody you didn’t expect interacts with that,” he told reporters. “When people have an unpleasant surprise like this, it’s bad for them and it’s bad for us,” he continued.
With those thoughts in mind, the company’s new goals seem to center around a new approach to privacy and using user feedback to build policies and tools. To prove this point, the network has been and will continue to conduct 4,000 privacy-related surveys on a daily basis to learn more about what matters to platform users.
Using Privacy to Build Loyalty
As demonstrated by Facebook, the online giant, privacy matters to your target audience. They’re willing to become loyal brand ambassadors of companies who respect boundaries and demonstrate that customer safety is a top priority. This is critical regardless of who your followers list consists of — individuals looking for weed prevention options for organic gardens, mothers of toddlers, or business owners looking for IT solutions.
To show that privacy matters to your company, consider the following tips:
- Never mine data from online sources or from customers without warning or permission.
- Consider “friending” followers before reaching out personally.
- Ask permission before tagging customers in photos on your business page or website.
- Never share data that has been collected by your company without permission.
It’s simple: Privacy matters to your customers, especially online. If you want customer loyalty, focus on privacy concerns and practice caution; if it seems like you should ask before posting, or restrain from posting something in the first place, it may be better to rethink before you click.
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