Dennis Yu

Reflections on the FTC Social Networking Privacy Roundtable

Yesterday, I had the honor of being part of the Privacy Roundtable put on by the Federal Trade Commission, held at the University of California at Berkeley.  The other 6 panelists were Chris Conley from the ACLU, Tim Sparapani of Facebook, Nicole Wong of Google, Erika Rottenberg of LinkedIn, Lillie Conley of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and Ian Costello of Living Social. I want to thank Peder Magee and Michelle Rosenthal of the FTC for inviting me to be part of this esteemed audience.

Highlights and personal observations:

  • To what degree is privacy an issue and what role should regulation have?  Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook echoed a similar response that users are, for the most part, quite savvy.  “Users trust us” and because of that fact, they feel safe to share their lives with their friends and community. “And we trust them”, by allowing communication to flow relatively freely and to not have a heavy hand in regulation.  Technology changes so fast that it’s difficult to write rules that would inadvertently cause friction, since “data is the lifeblood of social networks”.
  • Portability is key: Nicole mentioned that Google engineers have a penchant for starting their own movements– and one of them is the “Data Liberation Front”, where they want to allow users to be able to migrate or remove their data freely if they so chose.  Of the couple dozen services that Google offers, the majority of them do allow you to leave freely and easily.  For example, you can export all your Gmail and relationships and move to a competing service.  Users knowing they can leave freely at any time, as opposed to having to act on it, has been important to the transparency and growth of their services. Erika of LinkedIn and Tim of Facebook noted that there are many social networks– the bar for entry is low and users can pick up their data and go.
  • “We absolutely compete on privacy: There are dozens of social networks and search engines out there and the leaders are those that maintain user trust. Google has cross-functional privacy teams that meet regularly to review issues and ways to give more control to users. At the same time, implementing fine-grained privacy controls is difficult– to allow users to place their friends into groups and even place sharing rules at the individual message level is an engineering challenge.
  • No one size fits all: It’s nearly impossible to set smart defaults on what data is shared with whom. Chris Conley of the ACLU noted that a gay student was outed when friends in his hometown discovered that he was a fan of a GLBT page on Facebook.  As an aside, the relationships between people are so powerful that we can predict who you are just by knowing what your friends like and do– we don’t need to know much about you.
  • A free model creates incentives for advertising abuse: Third-party developers often have to choose between playing by the rules or maximizing their earnings. There is certainly a trade-off.  This trade-off exists for the social networks themselves, too, as they do not charge a monthly membership fee (LinkedIn being an exception).  Yet, market forces encourage playing by the rules in the long run, since short-term abuse by running deceptive ads will hamper long-term growth, as this Dennis Yu guest post details.  The crowdsourced feedback model, where users can report bad behavior, helps create a self-policing system.

I’m excited to see how regulation adapts to the growth of publicly shared data across an increasing number of devices.  Certainly, privacy is not “dead”, nor can it be unilaterally and suddenly stripped away from hundreds of millions of users. The problem with regulation is that it applies not just to the bad actors hiding in the shadows, but also to the good guys.  And abuse may not necessarily be of malicious intent. Should there be sufficient examples of unintentional sharing– perhaps a senior citizen’s health records are accidentally revealed because a mobile app accesses that information on this person’s phone or a woman’s child is publicly revealed to be autistic– and we’ll potentially have laws like HIPAA come down. The lack of harmonization across countries on privacy laws makes this even more complex.

I concluded in my final remarks that oftentimes regulation as a solution is a blunt tool– like trying to fix a broken watch with a sledgehammer.  Education is the right answer, as that will help minors and adults alike in being able to protect themselves.


Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations. You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel. You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.
I'm a member of Blitzmetrics Academy and a friend of Dennis to boot. Not only is Dennis highly intelligent and full of great and creative ideas, he's also incredibly generous with both his knowledge and his time. Success couldn't come to a better guy. Thank you for all that you do for the world, Dennis! 🙏

Michael Pacheco


Thanks 🙏 for being shining light in this industry. Love what your building for works overseas too network for jobs so innovative. Dennis helped me navigate having bad experiences with marketing agencies and doing dollar a day marketing which has helped my personal brand tremendously. Highly recommend.

Eric Skeldon

Founder at Kingdom Broker

Working with Dennis has been a delightful experience. After meeting him in 2015 I got to collaborate with him on countless occasions. His understanding for state-of-the-art marketing, his implementation, and his leadership put him into the top 0.01% of marketers and mentors.

Jan Koch

Ihr kompetenter Partner für innovative KI-Strategien.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis for my podcast in 2021 and since then we have maintained a friendship that grows with each interaction. I have seen Dennis' devotion to his friends and clients firsthand, and our conversations often result in us talking about how we can provide more value to the people around us. He is someone whom I can ask questions on a technical level, and look to on a personal level. If you have any hesitancy about hiring him, get over yourself and do it!

Isaac Mashman

Help scaling personal brands.

Geez, where do I start recommending Dennis? First, he is an absolutely brilliant marketer who understands where marketing is today and where it's going tomorrow. He also has an incredible passion for the International Worker community. The lessons he has taught me from his almost 20 years of experience hiring International Workers have been immense. Most importantly though. Dennis Yu is someone who wants the absolute best for you and is willing to tell you the truth. Dennis sat with me at a point in my business where I was floundering but did not want to admit it. He asked some very straight forward questions to get me to admit my issues, highlighted the issues, and then helped me create a roadmap to success.

Atiba de Souza

International Keynote Speaker | Video Content Superman | Superconnector |

Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will notr regret Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will not regret

Nixon Lee

The PR Whisperer

Ready To Take Your Marketing Game To The Next Level?

Register today for the Dollar-A-Day Coaching Program and accelerate your growth journey!

Scroll to Top