Facebook: Consumer engagement to turbocharge the value of personal data

Healthcare and other industries are on the cusp of a new age of enlightened consumers that recognize the value of sharing data to foster innovations otherwise not possible.
By Jack McCarthy
10:36 AM
Facebook consumer engagement

The use of personal data is undergoing major shifts that will exponentially increase the value of information for both individuals and businesses, a new report commissioned by Facebook indicates.

“We’re transitioning into an era in which people’s data will turbocharge the creation of value for the economy and for society, and increasingly for them as individuals,” the report found.

This burgeoning of personal information’s value will occur through a series of key changes Facebook said are coming: user education about the value of sharing data, mainstream acceptance that data is being used, enlightened views that encourage innovation, compliance that minimizes privacy concerns and, ultimately, stronger consumer engagement.

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Emphasis on improving use of personal data in healthcare and elsewhere, for instance, will shift from education to promoting confidence in its use, the report said.


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“Trying to formally teach people about personal data will have limited results; creating opportunities for people to develop knowledge and confidence through their day-to-day usage is likely to have a greater impact,” according to the report.

Improving people’s familiarization – either directly via use of the product or service or indirectly via media exposure of issues relating to personal data – will likely be an effective tactic that healthcare organizations should consider.

The second shift will come as the use of personal data gains mainstream acceptance beyond the control of organizations. 

A new generation of services, for instance, is growing to enable people to use their data for better decision-making and personal management – in healthcare and elsewhere.

“For these services, ‘consumer control of data’ is embedded into the central logic of how the service works,” the report noted. “While some of these entrepreneurs are driven by a strong belief in trust and control over data, they are also motivated by enlightened economic self-interest – they see the market potential in such services and are pursuing it.”

The nature of regulations of management of personal data will evolve in the third shift toward a more enlightened and realistic view that encourages innovation. Policymakers will be challenged to encourage the ‘right’ kind of innovation to maximize value for individuals, society and the economy while minimizing privacy concerns.

“The regulator and industry should talk more, and it’s also important to listen to users,” Ignacio Gónzalez Royo, of the law firm Garrigues, said in the report. “We need to find the right balance between what users want and what public protection needs.”

In the fourth shift, compliance and accountability processes need to be more than mechanistic, requiring action from many actors in the data ecosystem. Organizations such as healthcare providers will need to focus on reassuring people that when their data is collected and used, the process and outcomes will be safe and secure.

[Also: Mayo Clinic's quick tips for driving patient engagement]

“There needs to be focus on what’s fair, what’s unfair, what’s in bounds, what’s out of bounds, in order to create an environment that sustains trust,” said Dennis Hirsch, Ohio State Moritz College of Law and Capital University Law School in the report.

The fifth and final shift demands that the discussion moves beyond compliance to engaging with consumers about data rather demand perpetual attention from them about details. This practical approach toward preserving fundamental rights requires innovation led by those with the right experience.

“The current model doesn’t include the user very much – the more we do to involve the user, the more we will create balance and transparency,” said Shane Green of TeamData by Personal, Inc.

To sustain the personal data environment that would foster these shifts, the report concluded, people using data driven-services must feel confident that the value exchange is fair.

“All participants need to bring the right expertise to bear to create mechanisms of trust, transparency and control that work with the realities of mass human behavior,” the report said.  

Written for Facebook by the consultancy, Ctrl-Shift, "A New Paradigm for Personal Data: Five Shifts to Drive Trust and Growth," is based on a series of 21 roundtable discussions held across Europe, North and South America, and Asia-Pacific.

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