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The chairman of one of the largest ad firms in the world believes that major upheavals in the media landscape will see consumers soon share the wealth of large technology companies.
Maurice Levy, the former CEO and now chairman of Publicis Groupe, a $15.8 billion French ad giant, predicted that a third party will act as a middleman between social media firms and their customers — effectively collecting revenue from companies and distributing some of that money to users who share their data.
“There are already some voices which are already talking about the monetization,” he told CNBC’s Karen Tso at the VivaTech summit in Paris Friday.
“I know that some governments are not in favor, but when the consumer says, ‘There is all this wealth of information that you are using and the only thing I’m getting is a free service. But you are getting much more from me, and maybe I should get a share of that revenue,'” he said. “And I’m absolutely convinced that this will be the future.”
Levy didn’t name any lawmakers opposed to such a move, but some governments would likely be cautious about shaving revenue from big tech firms, with the industry already facing tough scrutiny on tax and regulation.
Currently, people who use social media sites like Facebook receive access to a free service in return for the company using their data to target them with ads.
That model has been thrown into question since it was revealed that Facebook data on 87 million people may have been shared with Cambridge Analytica, a now-defunct consulting firm that was accused of using “psychographic” profiling to influence voters for political clients.
“In my view, from an advertising standpoint, we will see a lot of changes coming in the future,” Levy told CNBC.
The ad guru name-checked new EU data laws that started Friday, called GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). It forces companies to be more clear on consent to use and share customer data and allows consumers to request that firms delete all information companies have on them.
Levy said widespread discussion on GDPR would only heightens people’s concerns on data sharing.
“The more we are speaking about the use of data, you will have people that say ‘hey guys, where is my money, you are using my information, you are using everything which is about myself, but I want a share of your revenues.’ And they believe that this is tomorrow,” he said.