As the May 25 deadline for GDPR compliance draws ever closer, it is fascinating to observe how the free market is self-regulating in the case of the personal data breach between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
As Apple CEO Tim Cook stated this week: “We could make a tonne of money if we monetised our customer, if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that… Privacy to us is a human right.”
On the other side of the argument; however, Zuckerberg defended himself by quoting Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos:
“I make all of our decisions based on what’s going to matter to our community and focus much less on the advertising side of the business. There are companies that work hard to charge you more, and there are companies that work hard to charge you less.”
Unfortunately for Zuckerberg while he might be an advocate of Bezos’ business model, his actions speak much louder than his words. His failure to respond to the Cambridge Analytica situation for 5 days after the story broke and his refusal to appear before a U.K. Government commission to represent the actions of Facebook, has led to a campaign to stop using his company’s service and resulted in a 17% drop in its stock price, wiping over $100Bn off its market capitalisation in just over 2 weeks.
While GDPR threatens punitive measures of the greater of £20M or 4% of revenues as a fine for breach of its guidelines, this is nothing compared to the adjustment that the free market will make on those organisations that are in breach of the principles of protection of our data protection as witnessed by the Facebook situation.
Similarly for those that espouse our data protection but do not display those leadership behaviours that we expect from them in these crisis situations, their pain will only be intensified by the public response.
So while we all expected May 25th to be the day of reckoning, that day has come much earlier in the shape of a significant reduction in the size of the “sugar mountain” that is the Zuckerberg empire.
So rather than sitting back and observing the demise of one of the giants of the social media revolution we would all be well advised to fine tune our data protection strategy in favour of our customers and to ensure that we are ready to respond in a timely and appropriate way to any potential breach that might happen on our watch!