Social Media Training Blog\

If you’re marketing to a variety of online audiences, you’ve probably heard the term GDPR by now.

But what is GDPR? 

What’s CCPA? 

And how do they impact you and your digital marketing team?

CCPA compliance requirements often get overlooked. But they shouldn’t.

Fines and penalties, while rare, could put you out of business if regulators decide to make an example out of you.

To help you understand your GDPR and CCPA compliance requirements, I got together with Robert Freund, an experienced advertising attorney. 

It’s his job to help you avoid business mishaps. And he shared some helpful insights about which data privacy laws apply to you, how to update your marketing, and when this all went into effect.

What is GDPR? 

GDPR was created by the EU to protect consumer privacy rights. 

It is intended to help consumers understand:

  • What personal information businesses are collecting
  • How their information is used
  • How to opt-out of data collection

If you have your own website, in order to be compliant, you may need to update your privacy policy. And if you have a separate social media policy, you may need to update that as well.

“It’s about updating your privacy policy…putting information about how you are using data and what you are collecting in front of the consumer,” said Robert.

This includes creating a cookie pop-up to let consumers opt-out of data collection if they choose. 

But, why does this matter to US companies? 

If you are a US business with EU customers — or it’s even remotely possible that someone from Europe may find their way to your website — you should be following GDPR rules when it comes to data privacy and disclosure.

“Even if you aren’t physically in Europe, the way the rule is written, it still applies to you,” said Robert. 

What is CCPA?

The California Consumer Privacy Act is California’s version of the GDPR, which went into effect on January 1st, 2020. 

You will be subject to the CCPA if you collect data from California residents and:

Exceed $25 million in gross annual revenue…


…obtain personal information from 50,000 or more California residents per year…


…50% or more of your annual revenue comes from selling the personal information of California residents. 

“If you’re a small business that’s not located in California, you still have to figure out if California residents are visiting your website,” Robert clarified.

If so, you are subject to the law and should be doing everything in your power to meet CCPA compliance requirements.

6 best practices for complying with CCPA privacy laws

Remember, you should be consulting with a professional attorney in your jurisdiction to ensure you are doing the following things correctly. This is not legal advice. But getting compliant may include these steps:

  1. Updating your privacy policy
  2. Updating your website policy
  3. Auditing what data you are collecting (and how)
  4. Having a plan in case of a data breach
  5. Giving consumers a very clear opt-out option
  6. Having disclosure guidelines in your social media agreements

“If somebody connected or employed by your brand is going to be talking about it online, you have to make that kind of disclosure, and it’s just good policy to ensure that everyone does that all the time,” said Robert.

The grace period for meeting CCPA compliance requirements ended in July 2020. So if you’re making more than $25M annual, you’ve got work to do.

It’s time to look over and possibly revise your website’s privacy policy! 

Have questions? Check out my free Social Media Compliance Course or download my social media policy template.

If you want to dig deeper into this topic, I have a free social media compliance courseware library you can check out if you want to learn more on your own.

In my Digital Marketing Springboard Program, we cover compliance in the Owned Media Phase, which is the first part of the process. 

Compliance is a moving target. My client Poster Compliance Center sells workplace compliance posters that employers are required by law to display.

And one of their offerings is an annual subscription, which ensures you’ll always have the most current posters to display.

That’s how frequently city, state and federal rules and regs change. You need to subscribe to a compliance poster provider just to stay up to date. GDPR and CCPA are two of the latest regulations to come into effect. And they’re both consumer privacy regulations, developed partly in response to the Cambridge Analytica fiasco

Or contact me if you need help navigating CCPA compliance requirements, or connecting with a good attorney who understands digital media compliance.

And for more important news and updates, subscribe to the B2B Lead Gen Podcast, where we share helpful digital marketing insights and effective tactics from industry experts.

With dozens of social media monitoring platforms to choose from, selecting the best solutions is a daunting task.

Weighting features by priority and figuring out which platform does what is tough when it comes to social media monitoring, because there’s not much in depth information available you pick.

There’s a ton of general information out there, but the platforms are evolving so quickly, up to date info you can use to compare platforms is almost impossible to find.

I recently completed a 2020 Social Media Monitoring Report that is vendor neutral that you can download for free which has a features comparison chart, user ratings, reviews and my analysis of each platform’s strengths and weakness.

No one paid me to write it and you can download it for free here.

Who Has the Most Data?

Everyone thinks this the most important to question. I did too before I wrote the report. But the truth is, everyone has access to the same sources. What’s more important is what you can with the source data. How easy is it to analyze?

Features Comparison Chart Snippet

Everyone also wants to know about artificial intelligence. But in order to appreciate the value of AI you need a basic grasp of the difference between narrow AI and artificial general intelligence which I explained in this blog post about why artificial intelligence can’t spot fake news.

The social media monitoring platforms that let you apply Boolean keyword filters to hone in on the right information first and use AI second have much greater potential.

There is value to leveraging narrow AI to evaluate sentiment at the entity level, by tagging articles by concepts and detecting geographical origin. 

And you can try out relevance and sentiment filters as well. But be prepared in step three to check those last two for accuracy.

Strategic insights are at the intersection of media intelligence and external data, which is why the ability to import stuff like call center transcripts and sales figures — even stock market data or the consumer confidence index — is so important, so you can spot patterns and figure out how that activity correlates to your KPIs.

Big Take Away

Media monitoring used to be about gathering feature stories and mentions about you in traditional and social media. 

Today it’s about discovering business intelligence by benchmarking your internal metrics against external data. 

It’s about measuring your online footprint. You can look at things like:

  • How many people have you engaged versus your competitor?
  • What percentage of feedback that you receive through social is positive, and how does that compare to your sales pipeline?
  • How does what your competitors are spending online impact your revenue? Is there a consistent relationship? Between those numbers?
  • If you analyze the boilerplate paragraph of your competitor’s press releases over time, what strategic insights can you get about their product roadmap?
  • And if you monitor your competitor’s job wanted ads, you can also learn a lot about their product development and sales expansions plans.

Media monitoring used to be about listening for what people were saying about you as a way of tracking widespread beliefs about your company. And it still is only that for a lot of companies.

But for more forward thinking organizations, media monitoring is about comparing what’s being said about you and your organization against a broader control group, which is typically your industry.

Download the 2020 Social Media Monitoring Report and let me know what you think on Twitter.

Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash

Sara Lee’s Instagram gets Trolled after Harry Styles SNL Skit

You know social media meltdowns are mainstream when Saturday Night Lie does skits about them.

On the last show, recording artist Harry Styles plays Dylan, a social media manager who goes “a little off message” in how he “represents the brand” on Instagram.

“People love bread content,” says Dylan, while Styles tries not to bust out laughing, because who really want to see pictures of bread on Instagram anyway?

When confronted, Dylan confesses to having mixed up his personal and professional Instagram accounts.

After the sexually charged sketch aired, Instagramers dog piled the Sara Lee Bread account with all kinds of adult-rated comments like 🍆🍆🍆💦🚂👻 which according to Dylan means “getting railed to death.”

TIP: If you manage social media for a company, avoid using the same app for business and personal.

Social Media Policy Development Training Course

If you’re posting for a brand as part of your job, you’re acting as the company and the company is responsible for everything that you say and do.

But that also means, they get to make the rules about what, where, when and how the content you share is developed, used and published. At this point, companies without official social media policies are just asking for trouble.

In the skit, Dylan posted obscene comments on other people’s posts who hadn’t even like Sara Lee, which made the offense even worse to his superiors, which shows just how mainstream social media marketing has become.

If you’re looking to develop a corporate social media policy, we have a free online course to get you started.

But my advice to Sara Lee at this point is to stop trying to remove the comments and go with it.

Youtube Rolls Out “Made for Kids” Audience Setting

To enforce the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, Youtube has introduced a new “Made for Kids” audience setting in Youtube Studio to ensure content creators identify content for children so they have a way to limit the amount of personal information they collect from those accounts.

Starting January 2020, Made for Kids content will no longer include commenting, personalized ads, info cards or end screen capabilities. Made for Kids channels won’t have Stories, a Community Tab, Notification Bell, Save to Watch Later or Save to playlist functionality.

The new “Made for Kids” audience settings are available at either the channel level or the video level. Youtube will now prompt you to define your audience when you upload new videos as well. And in the US, kids are are defined as 13 and under.

The video sharing platform sent an email to all account holders introducing the new feature yesterday, which a requirement under the settlement. Our free online FTC Disclosure Guidelines Course covers COPPA compliance and is available here.

In addition to the new setting, Youtube says they’ll be using machine learning to identify content that’s clearly made for children. We’ll have to wait and see how that works out. If they detect abuse, they’ll change your audience settings for you. There is an appeal process, if you think your content was categorized.

The changes come ten weeks after Google agreed to pay a record $170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General that YouTube illegally collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent.

COPPA is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and was introduced by the FTC to regulates how companies interact with children online. The riles impacts privacy policies for information for children and getting parents’ permission under certain circumstances.

When a company interacts with children under 13 online it is required to:

  • Post a clear and comprehensive online privacy policy describing their information practices for personal information collected online from persons under age 13;
  • Inform parents about what personal information is collected and shared from persons under 13, and to update them if that changes
  • Obtain parental permission, with limited exceptions, prior to any collection, use, or disclosure of personal information from persons under age 13;
  • Provide a reasonable means for a parent to review the personal information collected from their child and to restrict its further use or maintenance;
  • Establish and maintain reasonable procedures to protect the confidentiality, security, and integrity of personal information collected from children under age 13, and…
  • Only retain a child’s personal information for as long as it is necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected. After that, it must be deleted.
  • Also, it’s illegal to make the disclosure of personal information from children a condition of participation.

COPPA applies not just to child-directed websites or services, but any site that integrates outside services, such as apps, browser plug-ins or add-ons, voice over IP services like Skype, location based social networks and advertising networks, or any site that collects personal information from its visitors. 

In summer 2013, the FTC expanded the definition of children’s personal information to include persistent identifiers such as cookies that track a child’s activity online, as well as geolocation information, photos, videos and audio recordings.

Facebook steers clear of committing COPPA violations by restricting use to people 14 and older.  Linkedin was for members 18 years of age and older, but they lowered their age limit to 14 in a bid to connect students and universities.

Seventeen of the 30 essays in this year’s Relevance Report 2020 from the USC Annenberg Center for PR deal with ethics and compliance issues public relations professionals face as a result of technology.

There are anecdotes about corporations going rogue, marketers ignoring disclosure regulations and app makers violating privacy law.

Truth in Social Advertising

Let’s start with the rate at which influencer marketers are ignoring disclosure guidelines set by the Federal Trade Commission, the US Government agency that brought us truth in television and radio advertising.

The FTC’s “Dot Com Disclosure Requirements [PDF]” are supposed to help make sure you know whether or not someone endorsing a product online was compensated.

If you want to make sure you’re up on these requirements, I produced a free course on social media disclosure compliance with integrated assessment questions you can test yourself on.

But ignorance does not appear to be the cause of these violations.

“According to a study conducted by influencer marketing agency Mediakix, only about 7% of endorsements on social media from the top 50 celebrity influencers comply with FTC’s guidelines of appropriate disclosure verbiage,” writes Cathy Park, a second-year strategic public relations graduate student at USC Center for PR in the 2020 Relevance Report.

“Furthermore, Harvard Business Review reported that 28% of influencers were requested by the sponsoring brand to not disclose the partnership. It seems like the ability to deceive has somehow become tied to an influencer’s worth,” Cathy says.

More than 1 in 4 posts by online influencers ignore their duty to disclose.

These are deliberate, profit-motivated acts of defiance.

Lassiez-Faire Regulators

In February, under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the FTC fined $5.7 million for failing to restrict adults from messaging minors in their popular Tik Tok app.

COPPA applies not just to child-directed websites, but to apps and voice over IP services as well.

In 2013, the FTC expanded the definition of children’s personal information to include persistent identifiers such as cookies that track a child’s activity online, as well as geolocation information, photos, videos and audio recordings.

“For months before the FTC fining, many politicians commented negatively about the platform.

However, other politicians-turned-presidential-candidates have used TikTok to garner intel and help reach younger voters.

Andrew Gauthier, former head of BuzzFeed Video and head of digital content on the Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign says, “It’s almost like a look into the teenage id,” according to Tyler Stevens who leads operations and communications at Kinwoven and Patrick Mazuca, creative director at Shareability who wrote an essay on Tik Tok, the video sharing site with 500 million active users, two-thirds of who are under the age of 30.

But some believe the FTC is over regulating here. It was argued nearly two decades that parents, not the government, should be protecting their children’s rights.

Speak No Evil

Corey Dubrowa, vp global communications and public affairs at Google makes a compelling case for the search giant’s corporate citizenship.

“Each of our products is designed with an emphasis on privacy and security, including easy user interfaces and features like Privacy Check-Ups, which allow people to control their data and keep their accounts safe and secure.”

But there is one stark omission in his essay.

Project Dragonfly, leaked through a Google employee who blew the whistle and which last July they confirmed had been terminated at a senate hearing, showed a side of the company that puts profit potential before privacy.

Dragonfly is an Internet search engine prototype Google created to be compatible with China’s state censorship provisions and which also provided the government with a means for retrieving a users search history by searching their phone number, essentially abandoning their “don’t be evil” motto.

Interestingly enough, in another recent development, Instagram made a suspicious product change that may also have personal privacy implications.

“Instagram recently limited its users’ ability to view “likes” on Instagram posts.

They did this supposedly to reduce the potentially negative effect of their platform on the mental health of young consumers.

But more likely, they were motivated by the ability to sell the now hidden information to those who need to benchmark the effectiveness of their social media communication efforts,” writes Ulrike Gretzel, Ph.D., senior fellow at the USC Center for Public Relations in her piece on social media addiction, driven by platform providers, influencer marketing agencies and public relations professionals.

Will they “… be made accountable for their role in promoting social media addictions?” she asks, citing a growing resistance to social media dependency.

Algorithmic content is tough to resist but we are beginning to appreciate the toll it takes on our ability to relax.

Add to that an environment where advertisers buy attention from social networks that use algorithms to hide opposing viewpoints and cable news broadcasters that use political polarity to drive ratings, and it appears the gap between what organizations say and what they do is widening.

“You should take…care in deciding which tools you allow to claim your own limited time and attention,” writes Cal Newport in his book Deep Work.

Artificial Intelligence and Bias

With interest in artificial intelligence peaking, the Relevance Report also explores the notion of human-guided, ethical machine learning.

“…AI algorithms can also lead to false conclusions. In the Facebook example, this is due to the common practice by social media companies to deploy technology that is half-baked, at best,” writes Burghardt Tenderich, Ph.D., associate director of the USC Annenberg Center for PR and former vp public relations at Siebel Systems, which was acquired by Oracle for $5.8 billion in 2005.

“At the core of an ethical examination of AI is the desire to understand how decisions are made and what the consequences are for society at large. For that reason, policy makers are calling for AI to be explainable and transparent so that citizens and businesses alike can develop trust in AI,” says Tenderich.

It’s one thing to move fast and break things when you’re scaling a start up.

It’s something else when the technology you’re developing has the potential to enforce laws and decide on the distribution of government-funded resources.

Societal Impact

Given the tribal nature of the social media echo chamber, the divisiveness of the news media and just how far corporations are willing to go to justify profitability and growth, is it any wonder people are anxious and depressed?

The Relevance Report doesn’t link these factors to the mental health of young people, but the opening essay does focus on changing the conversation about mental health, and are discussed concurrently in the same report.

“The situation is particularly acute in younger populations like Gen Z, where rates of anxiety and depression are rising at an alarming rate.

The Child Mind Institute reports that “at some point, anxiety affects 30% of children and adolescents, yet 80% never get help.”

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that among adolescents and young adults, the suicide rate has reached its highest level in nearly two decades,” writes Willow Bay, Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in the report’s opening essay.

She calls universities — where the informed public is breed — “ground zero” in the mental health crisis and says we need to confront the “stigma associated with mental health.”

But reducing the stigma treats the symptom, not the cause. While diffusing the issue by normalizing as a topic for discussion is helpful, it stops short of dealing with the causes of these conditions, which I suspect has a lot to do with living in a time where fewer and fewer organizations and individuals mind the gap between what they say and what they do.

One of the strategic advantages of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is that it instructs on the practice of investigation journalism and advocacy under one roof.

But if objectivity is relevant, a more balanced study that reconciles corporate spokespeople say against the public record — perhaps by making it a collaborative effort with the journalism school — would certainly, in my view, add much more relevance.

The 2020 Relevance Report also includes a survey conducted late August 2019 “reflecting a US census snapshot of 1,106 Americans” which found also found Donald Trump to be the candidate most likely to be retweeted, comedy podcasts most likely to heard during commutes and Disney the brand most likely to be tattooed onto peoples’ bodies.