Steps for small businesses worried by Facebook scandal

FeaturesAssociated Press

Small business owners who use Facebook to promote their services and reach customers may now be wondering how to reassure people and protect themselves amid the social network's most serious privacy scandal.

What can they do? For starters, be open.

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"They absolutely should communicate with customers that they're in tune with their worries," says Marc Schenker, founder of marketing agency The Glorious Company .

That could be as simple as posting on the business's Facebook page explaining how the business uses people's information and how customers can lock down their privacy settings.

Businesses should also check their own settings and make sure they're comfortable with them, Schenker said, but not automatically lock them down because businesses need to be accessible.

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced intense Congressional questioning following revelations last month that the political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, which was affiliated with President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, improperly scooped up data on some 87 million users.

More than 70 million small businesses use Facebook, according to the company. Do the benefits still outweigh the risks?

"In spite of the bad publicity, small businesses should definitely stay on the platform," said Schenker, who maintains a Facebook page for his business. He called it "unwise" to leave.

"It's still one of the best ways for small businesses to advertise," Schenker added.