Facebook has stolen a march on the Information Commissioner’s Office – and the social media giant’s rivals – by launching the UK’s first major press campaign to raise awareness of GDPR in a move which has been seen as the company’s attempt to portray itself as a “leading light in data protection”.
The full-page ads, which ran across a raft of UK newspapers from the Sunday Mirror to The Sunday Times, carry the headline: “New data law means better protection for you.”
The accompanying text states: “From 25 May 2018, the GDPR will require any company holding data to protect your privacy. In line with the law, you will be asked to review how we can use your personal information. You will also be able to access, download and delete your data at any time. Learn more about the regulation and how it will protect you at: europa.eu/dataprotection/en.”
Last week, the ICO officially unveiled its own “Your Data Matters” public awareness campaign, for which it has enlisted companies to run the activity rather than buying media itself. However, the ads have yet to be uploaded onto the ICO website and some have expressed concerns that it will be too little, too late.
Meanwhile, despite promising a “massive consumer campaign”, the EU has yet to launch anything.
While Facebook has its own agenda following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the fact that it has launched the campaign before any official activity has raised more than a few eyebrows.
One industry insider said: “Granted, Facebook has a lot of catching up to do. But the fact is, this campaign is designed to show it cares about customers’ data. But why can’t the ICO have done something similar weeks ago? After all, it has been planning its own campaign for months.
“Consumer awareness of GDPR is still pitifully low. Is Facebook really a leading light in data protection? There are some who argue it isn’t even compliant yet. And Mark Zuckerberg certainly kept quiet about GDPR in front of Congress.”
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