What’s up with the new privacy policies?

You may have noticed the last time you were trying to read Harry and Meghan’s love story that a pesky little box about cookies popped up on your screen. More than likely you just clicked ‘continue’ and went on living your life. But if you took a closer look, you would have seen that the little pop up was part of the changes implemented by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

“The General what-the-what?” We know. It’s a mouthful and it sounds pretty intimidating. But it’s really nothing to worry about. On May 25, the European Union (EU) decided it was time for businesses to start being more transparent about how they collect data from users and what they do with that data once it’s collected.

For most of us in the marketing industry, there’s nothing to worry about. If you’re not part of the EU (we’re not) and you’re not sharing your users’ data with third parties (we’re definitely not), then you are in the clear and can go about your business as usual.

However, one thing you will notice is that international social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are providing users with more transparency in their privacy policies and more customization options for users’ privacy setting. Since there’s a lot to unpack with each platform, we’ve decided to share a quick breakdown for you — because who really has time to read through updated privacy policies? (besides social media nerds like us.)

Facebook Updated Privacy Policy

After Mark Zuckerburg got grilled by Congress about how the internet works, and in order to comply with the GDPR, Facebook decided it was time to make some updates to its platform.

Facebook is now asking users to decide whether or not they want to see targeted ads based on political, religious and relationship information they have shared on their profiles or through data collected by Facebook’s partners. If you decide to opt out, your newsfeed will be filled with more pictures of your friends’ babies and fewer pictures of Trump’s latest tweets.

Facebook also introduced better and easier-to-find tools for users to access, delete or download information on the platform. So, you can better customize your profile and overall Facebook experience moving forward.

Finally, Facebook is providing special features for users under 18 years old, including limited advertising categories, restricted sharing and less personalized ads. Facebook will also introduce a new global online resource center specifically for teens and more educational material about common privacy questions.

Twitter Updated Privacy Policy

Unless you are a lawyer or just love to read things, you probably haven’t read Twitter’s privacy policy word-for-word. Twitter recognizes that and decided to create an easy-to-read, more engaging privacy policy for its users. The new privacy policy is broken out into categories and is written in plain language, without all of the legal verbiage that is typically more difficult to understand.

Twitter is also offering a more personalized setting and privacy section on its platform. This section allows users to review, change and approve the different types of data that is shared. This gives users more control over how Twitter personalizes content for each user, helping to cut down on unwanted advertisements.

Essentially, these new privacy policies are good news for users and for marketers. As a user, you’re not getting bombarded with an overwhelming number of targeted ads. And as a marketer, the audiences you are reaching on social media have opted into receiving your content, so you know they are truly interested in what you are selling.

While these changes are all still fairly new in the social media world, we feel confident that it will only get better for everyone from here.