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Local Social Media Companies Face Potential New Regulations

April 13, 2018

In a recent post, I called attention to the ongoing controversies over Facebook and data privacy. I suggested that local social media companies might eventually have to turn their attentions elsewhere in the event that the platform’s reputation is harmed in the long term. But as coverage of the situation continues to accumulate, there are also other angles from which to view the long-term impact on the social media landscape.

Local social media companies have long been accustomed to a relatively unregulated marketplace. But in light of Mark Zuckerberg’s recent testimony on Capitol Hill, there are clear signs that this is about to change. The Facebook CEO and various legislators appeared to agree that regulation might be necessary for an industry with such outsized social influence. And on the other side of the Atlantic, privacy watchdogs have begun looking into the issue as well.

Of course, there are already diverse opinions about regulation in general, and local social media companies might come down on either side of the issue. The same can even be said of their views on regulation specifically as it relates to their industry. But those companies that are expert in other areas of internet marketing are likely to be in a better position to adapt to a more regulated landscape, simply because traditional advertising features more built-in strictures, which one must navigate to have success.

It may not be obvious whether an expansion of those restrictions to social media marketing is beneficial or detrimental overall. But it is a reality that local social media companies may well have to contend with; and the more readily they can adapt, the better.

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