Almost half of small business owners who responded to a recent poll about Facebook privacy say they no longer trust the social media giant to protect their business data.
The findings in the joint poll conducted by Insureon and small business listings site Manta arrives in response to the revelation in March 2018 that the data of 50 million Facebook users was harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a London-based political consulting firm company that did work for the Trump campaign ahead of the 2016 election.
Small business owners are split on whether they still trust Facebook to protect their data, with 44 percent saying they no longer trust the platform. More than 50 percent of business owners surveyed say they have changed the way they use the platform for business.
In the fallout from the recent data privacy issues:
- 25% of business owners polled exercised more caution about the content their business account shares, likes, and comments.
- 23% updated their business account privacy settings.
- 16% became more cautious about how they target customers and followers with boosted posts.
- 5% deleted their business's Facebook page.
- 48% haven't made any changes to their business's Facebook page.
The Insureon / Manta poll also revealed:
- 51% of small business owners have a business Facebook account.
- 86% of small business owners manage their business Facebook account themselves.
- 76% use their personal Facebook page for work purposes.
Potentially driven by fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal combined with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect in May 2018, Facebook recently updated its terms of service. This includes new rules for businesses that advertise on the site.
Businesses may no longer use pixels – code placed on a website that tracks Facebook ad conversions – on websites that they do not own without Facebook’s written permission. That means businesses that have pixels on other sites will need to either remove them or get permission from Facebook in order to be compliant.
Since consumers' trust in Facebook dropped by 66% following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, small business owners should also take steps to ensure that their own customers and prospects trust them with information. They can do this by updating their privacy settings on Facebook to better safeguard customer information and by being transparent with customers about how they collect, use, and store customer information.
In addition to tightening up Facebook security, small business owners should also make sure they are following cybersecurity best practices for their own business, such as:
- Using a dedicated server.
- Encrypting data.
- Educating employees on what steps to take to protect customer data.
Failure to do so can result in potential data breaches and a breakdown of trust with customers. Also, if cyber thieves are able to steal personal information, such as customer email addresses and credit card numbers, business owners could be looking at a major lawsuit.