The problem of personal data misuse, specifically from big technology providers and social media platforms, has hit the headlines numerous times this year. Users could be forgiven for feeling angry about these breaches of trust – especially when they have not opted in to the activity and receive no material incentive from the provider.
What the latest Facebook debacle shows us is that big technology companies who harvest and monetize personal user data continue to generate revenues while offering no incentives to users. If these companies want to use personal data which the individual is willing to give up, isn’t it time either they, or the advertisers who buy their services, started to pay for it? Users should be able to monetize their personal data (in other words gain benefits, incentives and financial rewards from social media platforms or advertisers wishing to market to them) and to set their profile and preferences according to what they want to see on their timelines, news feeds and screens.
The same applies to any platform where brands and advertisers can reach individuals via their digital profile. Take mobile advertising in its various forms, which is fast becoming the dominant medium for advertising globally. Mobile operators could take a leading role here and find ways of monetizing their services for the end user via incentives and rewards passed on by advertisers. This would have the additional benefit of boosting mobile operators’ revenues per user and customer loyalty, both of which have been in steep decline for many years.
Governments have a role in regulating the big technology companies and social media platforms, as well as restricting these companies from imposing their values, principles and political or religious bias on how data is used, but this isn’t enough to solve the issue. Regulation should, of course, include user privacy, data protection, GDPR compliance and encryption of data. Plus all data should be monitored across platforms for illegal activities so as to protect society from these negative influences.
However, regulation aside, if users had more control over their data combined with the opportunity to monetize it, they would be incentivised like never before to take hold of how their digital profile and preferences are used, and make sure advertisers realise the value of the permissions they allow. It’s time for a complete shift in the user-corporate relationship whereby the latter has, until now, had almost free rein over how they can market themselves online to give the user choice.
Here at Cloudbanter, we think users should have complete power and control over all of their personal data, over and above any company or organization wishing to use it. Our AI-powered technology offer the chance to monetize and personalize mobile messaging, apps and phones where the user receives incentives and rewards in exchange for receiving opt-in adverts and content based upon user profile and preferences – in other words, enabling the user to monetize their personal data.
Cloudbanter is the first and only company to apply this more balanced approach to user data. As users become more digitally aware of how their data is used, we believe it will shape the way individuals, technology companies and advertisers interact.