The Lasting (?) Impact of the Changes in the Ad Policies of Google and Facebook

Remember in late October, when Google and Facebook issued new policies enabling them to use adults’ and minors’ data for advertising purposes?  Initial reports suggested there could be a big hue and cry among consumers.  At the time, I was quoted by Law360 saying:

“They’re absolutely testing the boundaries from not only a legal standpoint, but also from a public acceptance standpoint,” said Foley Hoag LLP privacy and data security practice co-chair Colin Zick. “With these sort of compliance issues and regulatory concerns, I’m always reminded of the Japanese proverb that the nail that sticks up gets hammered down. It certainly is a meaningful strategy to try to be an early adopter, but that means that you’re going to get a lot of attention. Companies should watch closely to see what happens, and if it seems to be accepted, then they can follow.

We are now several weeks into those new policies, and no major boycotts of Google or Facebook have surfaced.  Just another bit of additional evidence that the newest generation of IT users has given up on the pretense of online personal privacy.  Expect the industry to follow the example Google and Facebook have set.

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