In October 2018, Facebook announced a platform update in which they announced significant changes to user data that brands can access and the way in which they can communicate online with their customers online. At that time, I shared the proactive updates we were making to our platform, several months ahead of Facebook’s deadline. We did this not only because we believe it was the right thing to do, but also because it makes good business sense to protect our clients’ brands. Our clients and partners trust us to be thought leaders around best practice and to keep ahead of the legislation so that they can focus on their businesses. We take this responsibility very seriously.

It has come to light today that other players in our industry may not have taken these privacy obligations seriously. These actions cast a shadow that undermines the extensive efforts that others in the ecosystem have taken to adapt to these changes with integrity and transparency.

Local Measure’s clients can rest assured that they and their customers are secure using our platform. From June through November 2018, we phased out data points that were being deprecated by Facebook and Instagram within their APIs. During that period we also audited our application and data to make sure any cached data that contained the soon to be removed data points were permanently dropped from our application. These data points included a social media user’s full name, their avatar photo and the geotag/location tag of their post.

We also updated the workflows in our product to comply with Facebook’s updated engagement rules. These rules don’t allow a brand to engage with a social media post unless the brand is explicitly photo-tagged or @mentioned in that same post. For those social media posts that don’t meet the above criteria, we redirect our brand clients to close the loop within the Facebook environment. We also added a GDPR-compliant way of obtaining the rights to use a social media user’s post within your own social media or marketing activity by obtaining their consent.

While some of these changes were not popular, we took the view that adhering to Facebook’s updates both in letter and in the spirit in which they were written was a prudent course of action. As an official Facebook Marketing Partner, Local Measure’s application underwent several audits to confirm that our use cases and workflows complied with Facebook’s updated platform rules.

"As an official Facebook Marketing Partner, Local Measure’s application underwent several audits to confirm that our use cases and workflows complied with Facebook’s updated platform rules."

In December last year, at our expense, we undertook a massive retraining exercise offering all of our clients training and education on Facebook’s platform rules and more broadly the impact of GDPR on social media. These series of webinars and emails were well received and continue to live within our client portal. The training was not limited to our clients, we also put all of our global team members through a privacy and GDPR training process.

We have an obligation to protect your brand so that when you use Local Measure as your customer intelligence partner, you do so knowing that you are engaging with customers on social media in a privacy compliant way. We are open and transparent about the steps that we have taken, however challenging, to prioritize the secure treatment of data on behalf of our clients and their customers. In today’s climate, we urge every company to do the same.

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