UK Brands Are Really Considering #DeleteFacebook

Money talks -- we all know that -- and so the prospect of the UK's top 3,000 brands, owned by ISBA members, that they will be boycotting Facebook is probably the best way to ram home the message to Zuckerberg that a late and "we should be doing better" style of apology is not quite enough.

There have been many social posts from people advising users to #DeleteFacebook who may not all quite get the irony of being given the advice on the social media platform in question. The success of the user campaign will only ever be limited. People who use Facebook regularly are unlikely to delete it over a principle. We have all had those posts from friends who are culling their list or switching the network off, but few actually follow through.

What could make a difference, however, is a boycott -- as The Times outlines. ISBA is always outspoken on consumer issues for the very obvious reason that its members fear there will be risk to their brand image if they support a site or platform that is bad for consumers and reflects badly on them.

So we have a YouTube-style boycott in the making here. While the two boycotts that hit Google's video site did little to hit profit because they were short-lived, they were taken very seriously at its London headquarters. 

However, the Facebook issue is different. It's a water cooler moment for people in offices, and it is talked about in cafes. I can honestly say I don't think there has ever been a digital marketing or data issue that has galvanised public opinion in this way. Brits are kicking themselves for entering silly quizzes and personality tests without thinking too hard about what happened to the data they were handing over. I'm sure everyone is.

What's really making Facebook users mad is this data then being sold to a company with bad intentions. In fact, the latter half of that last sentence doesn't really matter. It's the selling of their data that is making them angry, and the bad intent of the purchaser just makes it worse. What do we get from Zuckerberg? A muted shrug and a half apology. 

Where is the promise of a policy for apps to just work without gathering a tonne of data? How about a mandatory tick box at download to ensure we have control over the types of data an app has when we use it? Why should it be we only find out how invasive these services are when we have searched how to find out what they're storing on us and how we can edit the types of data? How can it ever be acceptable these data categories are pre-ticked for us?

How on earth can apps be allowed to automatically store our religious and political views, all through a pre-ticked box? How on earth is it possible for an app to then sell this data to the company that want it all along but need a friendly face to trick people into handing it over?

ISBA is said to be spending this week talking with Facebook and clearly its members, owners of 3,000 brands, will be interested to hear what the body feeds back. Trust me -- if it suggests Facebook has been remiss with its data policies members could decide to boycott the platform. That would be massive news. The Times estimates that the association's members spend "hundreds of millions" of pounds every year on the platform. While the person in the street can moan, the brands can hit Facebook in the only place that matters. 

Over to you, Mr Zuckerberg. 

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