Affiliate Opinion: ‘Business as usual’, as marketers stick with Facebook after data breach

At the tail-end of September, the data of at least 50 million Facebook users was found to be at risk, after attackers exploited a vulnerability allowing them access to personal data.   

As Hubspot’s Amanda Zantal-Wiener noted: “The hack was complicated. It was technical, and involved several layers of vulnerabilities that are tricky to understand.” With that in mind, was the data breach really that damaging to Facebook’s reputation? Has it turned users away? Or is it simply business at usual for the tech behemoth?

Well a survey found that 12.1% of users didn’t understand the implications of the data breach “at all”, while 15.1% went one further by indicating that this was the first they had heard of the breach.

Around about the same time, AdWeek published an article entitled ‘For Advertisers on Facebook, Friday’s Security Breach ‘Barely Registers’’, where the site explained: “For marketers, the lack of information about the extent of the breach and what it will mean has led to some confusion. Overall, though, they are continuing business as usual – at least for now.”

In a survey of US consumers conducted in July, Facebook was ranked the least-trusted brand among the top 100 consumer-facing Fortune 500, but as Voy Media Co-founder Kevin Urrutia articulated: “The overall feeling is that no one is really paying attention [to data breaches].”

Similarly, OMD Managing Director Kerry Perse claimed that: “Advertisers are gearing up for Q4 and will be reticent to move spend from any channel they know has historically delivered business results.”

To summarise, it seems unlikely that affiliates, or any type of digital marketer, will stop using Facebook anytime soon. The only way they might do so is if consumer attitudes towards the social media giant suffer a sharp decline.

From small time marketers to those working for global corporations, Facebook is often the primary outlet for targeted marketing. It delivers results, and so long as it continues to do so, people will happily turn a blind eye to these semi-regular data breaches.

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