GDPR and its Impact on Social Media Intelligence


There are just 5 weeks left until the new EU legislation comes into effect, on 25 May 2018.

At Beautifeye, we take data protection very seriously and believe in European citizens’ right to data privacy. We also believe that transparency is key. But what is GDPR anyway? How will it impact marketing and social media intelligence? Read on to make yourself aware and prepared.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It’s a European regulation that comes into effect this May and it replaces the old data protection regulations. It deals with the individual’s rights to their own personal data and it also deals with companies that handle, use and store these individuals’ personal data.

GDPR is all about regulating how personal data is obtained, used and stored. But what exactly is personal data?

Personal data is anything that can be used to identify someone. Your name can be considered personal data because it can be used to identify a specific individual, but so can many other types of data. This includes one’s address, email address, telephone number, birthdate, mobile device identifier, IP address, photographs, audio/video recordings, national identifier numbers (PPS number), social media username/data stored within a cookie or tracking pixel/tag.

When it comes to social media, this is the key point: because we don’t always have a name and surname on social media, maybe there’s no universal definition of GDPR regulation for every social media platform.

Every platform has to figure out how to deal with personal data storage. Different platforms have different kinds of personal data about people, for example Facebook has a real name policy, so they have to assume that every piece of information you put on Facebook can identify you as a specific individual. On other platforms like Instagram or Twitter, it’s much easier to be anonymous, but they still need to take it precautions because a lot of people link their account to their real name.

For instance, on Instagram there are bios or usernames - should this information be considered personal data? What about images?

Yes: bios and usernames can be considered personal data.

Images can considered personal data if they are personally identifiable. For example, if you have a profile picture in a website that is linked to your real name and you have the same profile picture on Instagram account, you can link that Instagram account to your real name and real identity.


At Beautifeye we have thought about it and we have a protocol for dealing and complying with GDPR regulations.

GDPR regulations request that businesses handling and storing personal data have a protocol for why they collect it, how they store it and how secure it is.

At Beautifeye, we anonymise the data that we store, so we don’t store anyone’s email address or name. We only store data that we need to fulfill our clients’ briefs, so we don’t store personal data.

The two key points are:

-Data anonymisation: to make sure that all their personal data is not stored and is not used.

-Data minimisation: We only harvest what we need to fulfill briefs.

To conclude: when fulfilling and delivering research briefs with social media data, there needs to be a protocol in place to comply not only with regulations, but also with common sense.

Marc Lucas