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Facebook needs to adapt to shifting data regulations, U of C expert says

Click to play video: 'How Facebook has changed our social habits' How Facebook has changed our social habits
WATCH: Facebook will celebrate its 15th anniversary on Feb. 4. Catherine Heggerud with the University of Calgary joins Global News Calgary to talk about the influence the social media site has had on our behaviours since it first came out – Feb 2, 2019

Facebook will need a creative business model to adapt to new data rules during a milestone year and beyond, according to one University of Calgary instructor.

“Historically, the business model for corporations like Facebook has been ‘great, give us your data, we own it,’” said Catherine Heggerud, an instructor of business technology management, on Saturday during an interview on Global News Morning.

“Now, as [new] legislation starts to roll out in the [European Union]… you actually own your data and you have the right to port it to whatever platform you want and you have the right to take it back.”
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The new EU General Data Protection Regulation rules came into effect last March. Heggerud, who has worked in information technology roles throughout her career, said the rules change “the fundamental economic equation” for companies like the social media giant.

READ MORE: GDPR: Here’s why you’re getting all those privacy-update emails

Heggerud worked for Telus in the 1990s when local number portability was introduced. She said many thought at the time that the ability for consumers to retain their telephone numbers when they switched providers would “be the demise” of the business, but that hasn’t happened.

“We found a way to work through that,” Heggerud said.

“Corporations will adapt.”

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004. The company now employs roughly 35,000 people and has 1.52 billion active users as of December 2018.

“Research last year suggests that Facebook is probably the No. 2 or 3 news source in a lot of countries around the world,” Heggerud said.

READ MORE: Year in review — From Cambridge Analytica to shares, Facebook had a tough 2018

In 2018, the company was under the spotlight due to privacy scandals and questions over data sharing. As it marks 15 years in business, Heggerud said the public still needs to learn more about where their information is going online.

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“I don’t think most people know, for example, that Facebook owns your photos once you’ve posted them on there,” Heggerud said.

“I can’t help but wonder if we don’t get another big data breach, if people aren’t going to start to pull back.”

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