Messenger bot data privacy | Your questions answered

Messenger bot data privacy | Your questions answered
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5 min read
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Chatbots undoubtedly allow for easier and more direct communication between companies and users. However, for any innovations that involve the transfer of information between parties, it’s a good idea to stop and ask questions about data ownership and data privacy.
This post will address the following questions around Messenger bot data privacy:
  • Does Facebook have access to your Messenger chatbot data?
  • How does Facebook use your Messenger bot data?
  • Should you be concerned about your Messenger bot data?
  • What is the GDPR and how will it improve Messenger bot data privacy?
  • How does Surveybot handle my data?

Does Facebook have access to your Messenger chatbot data?

The short answer: Yes! Facebook outlines in their data policy that they collect different kinds of information from or about you.
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Facebook states:
We collect the content and other information you provide when you use our Services, including when you sign up for an account, create or share, and message or communicate with others. This can include information in or about the content you provide, such as the location of a photo or the date a file was created…”
Next, Facebook also makes clear in their Facebook Platform Policy that they can,
“…analyze your app, website, content, and data for any purpose, including commercial.”
Keep in mind that the Facebook data policy is a blanket policy for all of their services. Although it doesn’t specifically outline this in their policy, clicking on an ad and then measuring that as a conversion for a marketing campaign will be treated differently to sending a message to a bot.

How does Facebook use your Messenger bot data?

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Facebook outlines that it uses your data for a number of purposes including:
  1. Improving their services from a tech/usability perspective.
  1. Promoting safety and security this includes verifying accounts are real etc.
  1. Improving their advertising services.
At the end of the day Facebook is a business and they make their money from advertising, which is important to remember. However, they are generally advertising to you within their services or networks. Similar to how ecommerce stores use ‘re-targeting’ ads to get people to buy after they interact with their websites, Facebook also display ads based on your activity within Facebook.
In saying all of this, we haven’t observed any experiences of advertising based on users conversations with chatbots. In fact, we expect that Facebook will most likely leave it up to the chatbot owners to do this if they want. A lot of people are using chatbots for marketing purposes, so the ability to retarget based on a bots activity is something that we expect to see more of.

Should you be concerned about my Messenger bot data?

First of all, when it comes to Messenger bot data concerns it’s important to understand that although users are experiencing the way they engage with brands in a new and more personal way, the technology behind chatbots is not new. Data is being collected, with respondent’s permission as outlined an application’s privacy policy, and being transmitted via secure HTTPS protocols. This is the same process that has been used for decades on websites and other integrated apps.
It’s a good idea to read the bot developer’s privacy policy before using their platform.

What is the GDPR and how will it improve Messenger bot data privacy?

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is the newly adopted data protection directive that was adopted by the European Parliament last year.
The regulation will begin enforcing strict data protection policies starting May 25, 2018. This applies to all companies either located in EU member states or companies that process data of European citizens.
This is especially relevant for chatbot messenger developers and users because it will change the way they collect and use messenger bot data.
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Some of the new regulations include:
  • Nominating a Data Compliance Officer to ensure the execution of all regulations and to serve as a point of contact for users with data concerns
  • Subcontractors being subject to the same rules as companies who first collected your data
  • Companies informing users of the object of data collection prior to information transfer
  • Major financial penalties for discompliance
People who interacts with chatbots will also experience positive changes from this regulation. There will be an increase in clarity about what information is being collected and the objective. In addition, you will be able to request any of your information to not be stored or to be deleted. Also, you will have more peace of mind due to an even lower risk of data breaches.

How does Surveybot handle my data*?

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  • Surveybot only retains personal information as long as necessary. We clearly communicate our objective at the time of collection.
  • We protect personal information by reasonable security safeguards against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification.
  • Surveybot retains the right to collect and use any Non Personal Information. This data can be aggregated for internal analytics that improve our Website and Service.
  • Personally Identifiable Information is not included in data aggregations.
  • Our hard drives are encrypted to store data and the servers automatically backup weekly.
  • The Surveybot database is private and encrypted; it cannot be accessed from the public.
  • All access on the platform is secured using user and account level authorization in realtime to ensure the current user has permission to access the data.
  • This does not apply to Facebook Workplace users. Please contact us if you have questions about our data policy for Facebook Workplace.
Surveybot’s data policy can be found here: data policy
Johnny Tong

Written by

Johnny Tong

Chief Human @ Surveybot