When the CEO of one of the largest global tech companies speaks up, it gets a lot of attention. And this is what happened when Marc Benioff, Salesforce Chairman and CEO made an extraordinary announcement on CBS This Morning. When he appeared on the show, Benioff called for a national privacy law, currently a global hot-button issue.
This comes on the heels of Facebook’s scandal with Cambridge Analytica, the coming implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, and a growing concern about privacy and personal data on the part of consumers around the world.
Salesforce is a leading customer relationship management (CRM) software used by small businesses and large enterprises across the country and globally. With CRM platforms relying on customer data, customer interaction, and business information to make companies more efficient, a national privacy law will also affect Salesforce and others like it. Benioff pointed out the EU and GDPR to make his case for a national privacy law.
In the newsroom section of the official Salesforce website official Salesforce, Dan Farber, Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications for Salesforce, wrote about Benioff’s appearance on the show, including transcripts of what he is suggesting. Benioff said, “In Europe your data belongs to you, but in the United States, your data belongs to all these companies that are collecting it, and they can do with it basically whatever they want. That’s a shift we have to make.”
Benioff Advocates for National Privacy Laws
Benioff said, “Maybe it’s time for the government to step in and regulate not just that product but our industry.” He made the suggestion after saying, “In some ways, you could say that Facebook has become the new cigarettes in our industry. That is, it’s a technology that is addictive, it may not be that great for you and it might be something you don’t want to go back to.”
Facebook probably will take umbrage to being compared to cigarettes, but the fact of the matter is social media is addictive for certain segments of the population. For many small businesses, Facebook represents a key marketing tool, with 80 percent of them using the platform for this purpose.
More regulations would mean additional costs and liabilities a small business can ill afford. The lack of GDPR implementation by small businesses in the EU, much less the rest of the world, is a great example. Ninety percent of organizations don’t have the necessary protocols in place to be compliant with GDPR less than two weeks away from the May 25 deadline.
Finding a happy medium where the industry self-regulates without the heavy-handed fines and lawsuits measures like the GDPR allow is key.
Here is to finding a workable solution small businesses can implement without more regulations that could put them out of business.