Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life examples of the good, the bad, and sometimes wild, in marketing.
About a month ago, Kat, our operations manager, jumped on Slack and told us that she had gotten $397 from Facebook. And all of us like were like, “Wait a minute, we didn’t get that money!” And then Savannah also chimed in saying that she had gotten $397 from Facebook. The common factor was that they had both been Illinois residents at the time of a Facebook settlement.
And so Illinois, around eight-ish years ago, sued Facebook, now known as Meta, for $650 million on a class action suit, stating that Facebook had been capturing and storing biometric data, also known as physical characteristics, without consent, using this for their facial recognition technology.
So here’s the thing in normal people’s words. What that means is, I don’t know if you recall this, but when you posted a photo on Facebook, they would have tag suggestions and say, “Hey, this is Andrew, or this is Max.” Whoever it is, because they could recognize whose faces they are. Since then, they no longer allow this. It was just banded a year ago or so, but if you joined that class action suit around eight years ago, you would get $397.
So once we realized that was happening, I started digging into this. Meanwhile, I also heard of a story coming out of Texas banning face filters. Here’s the thing, when you actually read into the news article, Texas didn’t ban face filters, but an attorney in Texas, the general attorney, sued Meta on the behalf of Texas for using face filters and also saying that it captured biometric data without people’s consent. So Meta and Facebook and Instagram, all of them are together, suspended those features only for people in Texas. So if you were in Texas, you didn’t have access to them. However, if you were outside of Texas, you did.
Super, super interesting. And I have been thinking about all of this since then. So for the record, now, users can use the face filters in Texas again. They just have to opt in rather than be giving them automatically. The rest of us, it hasn’t changed. Well, I mean, for better or for worse, I don’t know, that’s up to you, but that is how it’s working in Texas now.
It has me thinking how, as consumers and as business people, do these like news stories affect us? And so obviously we are not a new show. I don’t even know if there would be sufficient social media news to create a social media news show, but we strive to be watching what does marketing do in the wild and how does it live on its own.
So in these two cases, we see where the government is trying to protect the people or people are trying to protect themselves from social media. As we all know, the social media world is not very regulated as of right now. We’ll see how that changes in years to come. But here are two incidences where Meta, in essence, got slapped on the wrist and said, “Hey, we don’t want you to store this information about people.”
So, how do you feel about it? Do you want your information stored? Do you not? It’s a really complicated question because, in the end, we use it for our clients. We use a lot of information that Facebook and Meta have collected over the years to do ads. And this is the thing, is that one of the things that I appreciate about that information is, as a consumer, I get served ads that I want to see rather than what I don’t want to see.
And so what does that mean for you? I mean, for those of us who might be too into shopping, maybe that isn’t a good thing. But I would rather see ads about baby clothes, for my new daughter, than I would about cars because I could care less about cars. Those businesses would also rather show car ads to people who might actually buy them than to people like me who have no interest.
And so, at what point are we okay with these companies storing our information, and at what point are we not? And social media has an easier time per se, with all the AI, the artificial intelligence, but our information and data has been stored in different ways for a really long time, even outside of social media.
So, like I said, we’re not a news company and I don’t think we ever will be, but I do think it’s important to know what’s going on in our world and see how that might affect us both as consumers and as business owners. So I’m curious, are you an Illinois resident? Did you get part of the payout? If you are not sure, we’ll link an article in the show notes that might help you determine whether you were part of that class action suit. Also, are you in Texas? Did you notice that your face filters were gone? I don’t think I would have, because I don’t use them nearly enough to know that I wouldn’t have gotten it, plus I would’ve probably thought it was my fault, like a user error and not realized that it was happening to a lot of people.
Anyway. Don’t tune in to us for your local news, but do tune in to us for any marketing things going on. And if you’ve seen something related to marketing or social media in the news, send it over to us. We’re always wanting to look at things and analyze them and think about how these marketing events affect us and our lives.
So tune into next week, we have some really exciting episodes in the lineup. And in the meantime always be on the lookout for what sort of marketing is good, bad, or maybe a little bit wild and how you might apply those principles to your own marketing.
Friends, thanks for tuning into this week’s podcast episode. I am so glad that you have, if you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have, I just ask you to subscribe so you know each time we have a new episode coming out. If you loved our podcast and want to give us a rating or a review, I promise we will read each and every one of them. A special shout out to our friend, Carson Childers, who is producing our podcast. We really appreciate him and all the hard work that he’s done for us.
Also thanks to the Stratos team. They have been behind the scenes doing all of the graphic design, brainstorming, et cetera, et cetera. Really, this wouldn’t be possible without them. I’m thankful for each and every one of you guys. Lastly, listener, we’ll be back next week and I hope you will be too.
In this episode…