The Facebook Privacy Scandal and Your Business

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ditched his jeans and hoodie for a suit and tie as he spent more than 10 hours in front of Congress to field questions related to the privacy scandal that has rocked, well, the world. There's much to unpack but many businesses that rely on Facebook for advertising and marketing initiatives have lots of questions. Was my business's account compromised? Do I need to communicate with my customers? What does advertising on Facebook look like now? How will this impact my bottom line?

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The answers to most of these questions are still unclear, but there are things business owners can do to keep things calm. 

First, use Facebook's tool to find out if your information was shared with Cambridge Analytica. You'll need to be logged in to Facebook to do this. If you have employees or consultants that support your company's Facebook efforts, have them check too. The language is intentionally vague (i.e., "may have been," "it doesn't appear"), but at least you'll know something.

Next, review what apps have access to your personal and business accounts. We all use Facebook credentials to login to other apps, often with little thought. What you find might surprise you. You can revoke access to those that warrant it.

If your business buys ads on Facebook, review your account, payment histories, etc. This is good practice no matter what.

Educate your employees on how to answer customer or client questions related to the privacy scandal. Talking points like "We've done a full audit of our Facebook account" and "we take customer privacy seriously" can be useful so long as you back them up with actual action!

Finally, take a look in the mirror and examine your own security. If you use an email marketing system, review who has access. Change passwords. Use two-factor authentication wherever available. Consider a company password manager like 1Password. Set an actual password on your office's wifi instead of leaving it open for anyone to join.