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Opinion

Backlash brews against digital behaviour

Some digital finance firms are taking liberties with client data. If they aren’t careful, they will lose their core customers.

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In mid February, UK fintech company Revolut hit the headlines when it allegedly used customer data for a controversial ad campaign.

Strewn across the London underground, Revolut used various alleged statistics on their customers’ spending habits to show how many of their customers had bought a vegan sausage roll in the last month, had set up a monthly food budget labelled “Brexit Survival Fund” and – most controversially – had bought a meal-for-one last Valentine’s Day.

The campaign fell flat on its face when many millennials called out the fintech company for being out of touch and “single-shaming”. This anger intensified when it was revealed that Revolut’s statistics were completely made up – a fact that the fintech was actually keen to highlight when the backlash grew.  The firm does have access to customer spend but not what has been purchased.

Data abuse

The controversy highlights questions around how tech companies – that have access to huge volumes of customer data – actually use it. According to research by the Pew Institute that came out towards the end of last year, 74% of Facebook users 18 years or older in the US have either deleted the app, taken a break from checking the app or adjusted their privacy settings.


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