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Revoke the Free Pass: Social Media Platforms Must be Vetted Like Any Other Supplier Risk

By Barika Pace | September 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

Sourcing, Procurement and Vendor Management LeadersSecurity and Risk Management LeadersProcurement and Strategic Sourcing Applications


From deep fakes to brand impersonations CMOs and enterprise risk leaders must ask themselves this question: Why are social media platforms getting a hall pass on digital risk?  Instead of managing social media risk, we have seen enterprises boycott various social media platforms. However, a pause in spending is far from a security and risk strategy that is sustainable.  Time out, is not a strategy for managing your brand or security risk that continue to plaque many social media platforms.

Analysis in Brief

Enterprises collectively spend billions each year securing their supplier chains against digital risk. The supplier approval process includes intense vetting, business continuity planning, data protection clauses, and the mitigation of security risk at-large. Supply chain, cybersecurity, privacy, legal, and governance leaders are charged with this task. But, too often social media platform providers are regulated to simple metrics of engagement, clicks, and shares. Yet, in 2021, social marketing will top the list of marketing channels (see Figure 1).  More and more organizations are making a significant investments in managing their social media presences.  So, what should CMOs and leaders do to protect their investments?

Figure 1

Facebook, for its part, claims that its systems detect and remove 89% of problematic content, up from 23% three years ago. However, progress for social media providers is still behind the expectations set for other suppliers. The impact of AI in the creation of counter-realities are upping the game on digital risk when it comes to managing your enterprise’s social media presence. A successful social media attack could be costly to your bottom line. Consider the following findings:

  • Prevalent consumer concerns over misleading information and distrust in ad targeting across social media channels are resulting in consumers sharing less social content, making social media engagement targets more difficult to meet.
  • Gen Z consumers are more than willing to delete a social media platform if it falls out of favor (56%) due to distrusting the content they are receiving.
  • Marketers need to find ways to encourage consumers to share data by providing them with secure environments and an exchange of value with their brand.


Enterprise leaders must start to think about social media platform providers as part of their overall supplier risk and tighten security around these platforms. CMOs must take the following steps:

  • Stop giving social media platforms a free pass. Marketing must work with risk management, legal, supply chain, privacy, and cybersecurity to vet each social media platform for security and brand risk. This means evaluating their terms, conditions, procedures, Service Level Agreements (SLAs), incident management, digital ethics, and privacy before committing valuable marketing dollars.
  • Avoid the boycott mentality. Be prepared to commit to a long-term social media strategy that consistently evaluates providers for potential security and brand risk and aligns with your supply base risk tolerances.
  • Make social analytics tools like Brandwatch, ZeroFOX, SafeGuard Cyber, and Zignal Labs a part of cybersecurity and marketing’s tech stack, with data democratized across functions to counter digital security risk.
  • As you would with other suppliers, document the flow of high-value data and assets across social media providers, including accounts, engagement, and other marketing collateral, and be prepared with contingency and risk mitigation plans.


Recommended Reading

Beyond Boycotts: Why and How Brands Can Steer Social Media Away From Poisonous Polarization

Social Media Friend or Foe: Methods for Addressing Security Threats to Your Brand

Market Guide for Social Analytics for Marketing Leaders

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