By Joseph Raczynski
Reidenberg makes several technological and policy recommendations:
- If you are advising clients make sure you tell them to be transparent. Use technology tools, e.g. popups or interstitial pages to make it clear to users information is being collected. Ask, “Would a normal person be able to understand the terms and conditions?”
- Focus on substantive fairness, i.e. the “The Grandmother Test”, as a company, can you describe to your grandmother what you are doing, and do it with a straight face?
- Technology tools will be very important going forward. Some of these exist, and some need to be developed. For example, if you want your information to be deleted from a social media website, how to do this needs to be explicitly stated, but additionally the site needs technology tools to allow this to be automated. Giving a user the rights to review and make adjustments to personal information will soon have to be the standard in the social media sphere. Currently there is a disincentive for advertiser based companies to use these technologies because it decreases their revenue.
- General public education will have to be enhanced. Companies need to focus on how to raise awareness about helping people, especially children, to understand risks.
Lastly here are some interesting concluding thoughts from Reidenberg:
Prediction: Facebook and similar social media sites could potentially be a prime candidate of a class action suit. As they continue to collect volumes of information from its users, it is possible to hold them subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The reason, Facebook is increasingly being used to screen employees.
Ultimately if policies are transparent, technology is utilized, and education is enhanced, companies can fully embrace social media as an effective tool to better their brand.