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December 22nd, 2012
What Facebook and Instagram Changes Mean to Advertisers
The Instagram Storm
Lost in the frenzy was Instagram's stated intention to develop native forms of advertising for its site, similar to Facebook's ads with social context. If Instagram is unable to regain consumer confidence that it will not infringe on consumers' privacy or other rights, it may lose important revenue opportunities and advertisers may well lose a potentially exciting new medium for their marketing.
Facebook Privacy Enhancements
Avoiding a similar public outrage, earlier this month, Facebook announced a number of changes to its data use policies aimed at helping users better manage their own privacy controls. According to Facebook, these changes (which include a new, easily findable, privacy shortcut toolbar) are intended to minimize unpleasant surprises for Facebook users. While users may be skeptical of Facebook's intentions given past FTC charges against Facebook (settled roughly a year ago), it's hard to argue that these privacy changes are not a step in the right direction for users.
Facebook "Disenfranchises" Users
Unlike Facebook's privacy changes, its removal of user voting on changes to its governing policies met with howls of disapproval. About 650,000 Facebook users voted to try and save their "right to vote," missing the over 300 million voter threshold. So, now, Facebook can make changes to its policies without user voting, although it still promises to provide a notice period for review and comment, as well as new webcasts and other means to communicate privacy concerns.
Lessons For Advertisers
There are at least two takeaways for advertisers from these latest developments: First, contrary to popular belief, users/consumers do sometimes pay attention to what terms and conditions say and mean. Therefore, it's important to understand the implications of your online policies, and to only demand the rights you need. Second, as advertisers formulate their social media plans, it's important to know what limitations the social media platforms are putting on use of consumer data for advertising purposes - as well as any restrictions on how advertising can be disseminated on the social media platforms. The social media platforms are constantly struggling between satisfying users and advertisers. Brands must stay up to date on which way the pendulum is swinging.
If you have any questions about advertising or privacy practices on Facebook, Instagram or other social media properties, or other advertising or marketing law issues, please contact Terri Seligman or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Advertising Group.
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FTC Research Indicates Disclosures Help Consumers Recognize Ads
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