What Internet Regulation Means for Influencers


In May of 2018, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),  an expansive law that protects internet users’ private data and gives them more control over who can access their information and why. Recently, many high-profile figures have brought the GDPR into public discussion in the United States.

Here’s what you need to know about it.

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR was designed to cut down on those creepy ads that make you feel as if Facebook is listening to your every conversation. It gives users the option to opt out of sharing their data with companies and obligates companies to be extremely clear when asking permission to use data. This means they’ll have to do away with long, confusing consent forms and opt for concise statements in simple language. Additionally, users can change their mind at any time, requiring a company to remove data they have already shared. Finally, users have the ability to download any information a company has on them and can choose to move that information to a competitor. In other words, the law treats a person’s data as a piece of individual property that they can share, move, or keep to themselves.

How does it change the internet?

Around this time last year, you probably noticed a bunch of websites with new pop-ups informing you of updates in their privacy policy. What may have felt like a minor annoyance at the time was actually the result of a major change taking place not only in the UK but on the entire online ecosystem. After all, the worldwide nature of the internet makes it impossible to keep the effects of a law like the GDPR contained to a single continent. But aside from these small changes, you’re unlikely to notice a huge difference in your day-to-day online experience.

This is not the case for companies like Google and Facebook, which have built their business model on collecting and selling their user data. In a recent surprising opinion piece for the Washington Post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighed in, arguing that similar regulations should be enacted within the United States. Zuckerberg has faced intense criticism from experts who say his call for further regulation may be an attempt to protect his company from liability for past data breaches and misuse. Whatever his intentions, many of Facebook’s practices will have to change.

What does it mean for influencers?

From the beginning, companies like Obviously have touted the effectiveness of influencer marketing over typical banner and pop-up ads. By its very nature, influencer content is targeted: your audience opts in to following you because they are interested in what you have to say and the topics you post about. Unlike selling users’ private data, there’s nothing questionable about influencer marketing - your followers can’t wait to see what you’ll be up to next.  

As an influencer, your most valuable asset is not your data, but your authenticity. The changes to the internet that the GDPR would require could be a huge benefit to influencers as advertisers seek out new, less invasive ways to reach people.

What do you think about GDPR?

By the way, Obviously is 100% GDPR compliant. That means that we never collect or share your data without your permission.  You can find out more about our data policy here.

Emily BarozComment