For the last two weeks, I was trying to get in touch with customer services of Globe and Smart, two of the three Philippine telecommunications providers (I’d get a DITO service, but for some strange reasons, they don’t support the iPhone). It is well known that these PH telecommunications companies face challenges at providing consumer customer services. It used to be that calling their hotline would put you on hold for a while, but these days you’d be lucky if you can even find a hotline to call.
When looking for customer support, the first thing most people do is to look at their website. With Globe, you get to access the Contact Us page and you will be presented with different ways to contact them — none of which is a phone number you can call. They use Facebook Messenger, Facebook or Twitter. Yes, they do have mobile applications, but if you don’t have a smartphone, then what would you do? For a telecommunications company not using voice calls is unheard of.
With Smart, you can find different ways to get in touch with them, and yes, they provide phone numbers that you can call. Calling their numbers work, I did it yesterday, but their system is on scheduled maintenance (for more than a month already) so there is no point interacting with them since they can’t log your concerns and can’t give you a ticket number. In addition, I found out that they prefer interacting on Facebook.
First and foremost, Facebook and Twitter are not customer support service providers. Globe — one of the biggest companies in the Philippines — assumes that all Filipinos, at least their subscribers, use Facebook and Twitter, which is not true. For a Globe subscriber to contact them, you are required to use Facebook and Twitter, which puts your privacy at risk. For instance, Globe’s Twitter account will ask you to Direct Message your subscriber information, e.g., full name, phone number, account number and address — these data are not encrypted. Now Twitter knows your personal data, in addition to the fact that you are a Globe subscriber.
Similarly, on Facebook, Facebook gets this information (if it hasn’t yet), and earns from it. Facebook knows that you are a Globe subscriber, so DITO and Smart can target you with ads — this is the best case scenario, but it could be much worse, knowing Facebook! This is just so wrong!
Why do Philippine companies, even some government agencies, put the personal data of Filipinos at risk by requiring them to use Facebook? Filipinos need to realize that Facebook is not interested in helping them. Facebook’s only interest is earning off of Filipinos’ personal data, and will continue to do whatever it takes to collect more to make even more. Yes, Facebook and Twitter are great tools for marketing, but forcing people to use it is just wrong on so many levels. I wish that Globe will change their customer support services strategy. It is frustrating and continues to put data at risk.