Social media has become one of the most powerful resources in the world for people to connect to each other. Every business owner knows that in order to reach more customers and promote their products or services they need to use social media. Using social media can be both exciting and challenging though and some people are beginning to ask “how does social media affect privacy?”
Are you familiar with all privacy laws that affect the way your business uses social media? If you want to be trusted by your customers and vendors you need to know and understand these laws and take the key steps you need to make in order to meet your privacy obligations.
Privacy laws dictate how businesses transact with and collect customers’ personal information. It is therefore critical for you to protect and respect the privacy of your customers both on your website and on social media and to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that your customers know that their privacy is protected and respected.
Please use this as general information, not as legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only and should not determine how the privacy laws might apply to you and your organization. We encourage you to work with a legally qualified professional to discuss privacy laws, how they apply specifically to your organization, and how best to ensure compliance.
Having the right legal documents for your online business ensures you comply with consumer and privacy law. These legal documents also help your customers better understand what you are selling and on what terms, as well as set out how their information is being used.
First we need to know what “personal data” you collect from visitors and clients on your website and on social media.
Let’s dive into the meaning of “personal data.”
“Personal data” is anything that allows you to identify the user or to monitor what they are doing. It commonly includes: names, contact information, credit card or bank account details, geolocation data, IP Address, or Google Analytics info. This could also include information shared with you on social media by your customers or by social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter through a pixel integration.
If you aren’t sure if the info you collect is “personal data”, ask yourself if the info you have for each user can identify them or allow you to monitor them.
Here is an example:
A visitor may come to your website to read a blog post. If you have a facebook pixel installed on your website then you can monitor the actions that the visitor takes on your website and use that information for targeted ads. That information which you share with Facebook through the Facebook pixel is considered “Personal Data.”
“Customer information” is information or an opinion about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can be reasonably ascertained, from the information or opinion. For example, this could include a person’s name, address, telephone number, email address etc.
Customer information is information or an opinion about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can be reasonably ascertained, from the information or opinion
If after the visitor goes to your website they visit your Facebook page and comment on a post and you compare their name to a list of your known clients then that information is “Customer Information.”
If you have an online business that provides goods or services to the public, you definitely collect personal data. As an online business owner you need to know what data you collect from your users and how you collect, process and store it.
In general, it should set out:
In this way, companies can avoid constant revisions. The policy does not necessarily need to use legal jargon but it is recommended to have an attorney review the policy to ensure that it reflects the company’s purposes and intent.
Don’t forget to include wording specific to social media. Things like how you collect customer data on social media, how you intend to communicate with your clients through social media, and how you share information with social media platforms through a social media integration or pixel all need to be included.
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