We are on-liners! You can reach us on:
Terrorist Attacks Reveal The Humanitarian Value Of Big Data
When news came in of the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, here at ASTELO, everything stopped. Many of our clients are based in Europe and we work closely with European advertising and marketing firms. We have a large number of colleagues and several close friends who live and work in Paris, and like many people watching around the world, we feared the worst.
It wasn’t long before our worst fears were realized. Yannick Minvielle was a creative director at RED/Publicis. He was 39, a father of one, and a close friend, someone with whom we’d shared many wonderful hours talking about work, and about life and family and art and music, all of which he loved so much. He died at the Bataclan theatre, shielding his partner from the terrorists’ bullets. We miss him dearly.
(Picture by Gregory Rouillard )
This blog is usually about the techniques used in content marketing. We use those techniques to help companies connect with audiences, tell their stories and build relationships. In the hours following the attack, Facebook used one of those techniques for a humanitarian goal, revealing both the amount of data that it holds about its users and the way in which we agree to let large companies hold and use that information provided we receive a valuable service in return.
The company activated its Safety Check feature. It’s a service that identifies people who are members of Facebook and in the vicinity of an incident such as a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. They receive a notification inviting them to indicate that they’re safe. They can also see which of their friends are in the area and which of them have already marked themselves as safe.
Telephone traffic often spikes following disasters as people call friends and relatives to make sure they weren’t harmed. Facebook’s Safety Check is intended to reduce that burden on the communications infrastructure by offering a fast and simple way to reassure large numbers of people at the same time. Friends of people in Paris were able to use Facebook to see immediately that the people they knew were not in danger.
Big data platforms collect our personal information and turn the knowledge they gather into insights. When that data is used fairly, it meets our needs and brings all of us real value. The relationship should feel fair: in return for my personal information you give me real value. But it doesn’t always work this way. Our personal information is very sensitive and we all worry about Big Data in the wrong hands. You don’t have to see SPECTRE to worry about what terrorists could do with our data.
Facebook's decision to use the information that we supply in this way was interesting. The Safety Check service reveals just how much the company really knows about us, about where we are and who we know. By giving us true value that corresponds with a true need—to know that our loved ones are safe—Facebook showed us that we are willing to trade some of our privacy for the right returns. Facebook managed to use our Big Data and wrap it up in a humanitarian package so that we find ourselves grateful for a technology that knows how to track us down wherever we go.
If only Yannick could have marked himself as safe.
Here is to you, our dear friend.
Click here and get your FREE copy of ASTELO's practical guide:
"101 Content Marketing - The New Face of Digital Marketing".