Weekly Industry News Round-Up – Edition 19
Welcome to another edition of Tuesday News Day, our roundup of the week’s digital, internet, marketing and SEO news. This time we’ve seen Facebook take a lot of hits, but there’s no surprises there.
Facebook fined the equivalent of 11 plastic bags
You may remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal that was all over the news this year, which basically involved the misuse of data on Facebook. If you didn’t keep up with the story or found the whole thing a bit confusing (which to be honest, we did too), have a look at the below graphic to catch up before you continue reading.
The latest update on the story came last week as Facebook received their punishment from the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) for their role in the scandal – a fine of £500,000. Sure this may seem like a lot to you and me, enough for a few years off work or a pretty big house, but to Facebook this is pocket-change.
In 2017, Facebook’s revenue was was 21.69 billion GBP, of which £500,000 is only 0.002%. So to put that into perspective, this fine is Facebook’s equivalent to someone earning the UK’s average salary of £27,000 being fined 54p (almost 11 plastic bags).
Unfortunately £500k is the biggest fine that the ICO could hand out as the breach of the law took place before GDPR was introduced. Had the scandal happened this summer instead, Facebook would be looking at a potential fine of millions of pounds – so while you may have found the constant emails annoying, it goes to show that the regulations aren’t all bad.
Social media and internet tax
You’ve probably heard (or been trying to avoid hearing) about Philip Hammond’s budget speech this week. There’s a few things that will be affected, but a lot of it can be summarised as less tax for some, more tax for others. Some of the unlucky recipients of the increased tax segment of the new budget are the likes of Google, Facebook and other ‘web giants’.
The new ‘digital services tax’ will target the biggest earners in the digital landscape, supposedly avoiding punishing smaller companies and start-ups. But, it’s been reported that it won’t come into effect until 2020, and will only raise £400 million (which is next to nothing where the country’s budget is concerned).
It’s interesting that we’ve seen yet another case of government bodies vs. digital businesses, as it seems to be a weekly occurrence that either Donald Trump, the EU or the UK government publicly moves against them. It’s down to individual opinion to decide whether it’s a case of a generation unfamiliar with online technologies making decisions about them, or whether companies such as Google really do have too much of a monopoly on the digital world.
In another (small) move towards a fake news-free Facebook, the social network has identified and removed 82 accounts that it accused of “inauthentic behaviour”. The pages across both Facebook and Instagram originated in Iran and targeted accounts in the US and UK, with divisive content focusing on trending topics such as Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Donald Trump, and immigration.
The pages had large volumes of followers, and so were potentially influencing a large community of unsuspecting social media users with fake news and offensive memes. This highlights once again that we should be careful not to let social media content (that isn’t from reputable sources) influence our opinions and behaviour – especially where politics is concerned.