Like many other millions around the world, I was closely watching recently how Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg ‘owned up’ to the numerous mistakes his social media empire had been making over the years in regards to data management and privacy issues.
While I have already shared a positive perspective on the whole situation here facebook data silver lining I still believe brands and governments also need to take on much needed responsibility as they go about making the world a better and safer place for humankind.

Closer to home in Uganda, we too are trying to sort out this data management and privacy issue in our own way;
The Ugandan government is considering taxing all social media platforms.
The Uganda Revenue Authority had proposed to integrate all our personal bank details to its revenue management systems which caused alarm bells to ring and an immediate public backlash similar to the global reaction to the Facebook debacle. Not surprisingly, this proposal was gunned down with great speed.
New regulations were drafted by the Uganda Communications Commission, the regulatory authority, halting reactivation any replacement Sim cards until a thorough verification process is carried out by the National Identification and Registration Authority on the relevant subscriber.
Meanwhile across in Tanzania, a ‘blogger tax’ has been imposed on all online bloggers / media to pay $930 for the new ‘blog license’. Now the justification will be to ‘manage’ and ‘approve’ the nature of all online content published. If you ask me, I see a precedent here that other countries will follow.

However, what I find most interesting and ironic is how brands/businesses and governments, who in the past used to get by using traditional communication tools, were very reluctant to take on digital and social media platforms, but are now being put to task to own up to privacy and data management protection of their users/customers due to the prevailing public backlash.

Facebook, as the market leader in social media, is certainly going through a shift in the way it operates and ‘owning up’ (there’s that word again) to what it previously had ‘overlooked’. I shall end with something for us to ponder and reflect on what the future will look like going forward for business online and offline especially in Uganda.

An article published in Ad Age early last week by Shelly Palmer highlighted that Facebook must lead the world in ‘responsible innovation.’ It must lead the world in ‘responsible regulation’. It must form a self-regulatory organization with other big data organizations and lead the industry so that governments do not “try and convict” all data-driven businesses in the court of public opinion.

About the Author: WMC Editor

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