Research shows that social media platforms are using the same techniques and methods as gambling firms to keep users hooked. Is this a privacy issue?

The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica story showed the power of big data, analytics and profiling. It stirred substantial public emotion due to the highly personalised nature of information that was allegedly used to build a detailed picture of individuals' interests and habits.

New legislation - particularly GDPR - is focused on enhancing data subjects' rights and mandating higher standards of transparency around the types of data that companies are processing and the techniques they use. This includes explaining the purposes for which the data is being processed and the legal basis of the processing. The GDPR explicitly confirms that individuals should be informed of the existence of any profiling and the consequences of such profiling in order to ensure fair and transparent processing.

If users are being tracked, monitored and influenced by techniques, social media platforms may now have a legal obligation to inform them. This could extend outside Europe as the GDPR's territorial scope captures any monitoring of behaviour within the EU (even by a non-EU entity).