Facebook Voices Concerns Regarding Users Transferring Data to Other Platforms!

Facebook Inc. has assured regulators that it will safeguard user’s privacy as well as allow them to port their data elsewhere. Now, it is figuring out how it can do both. The company claims that although users should be allowed to transfer the uploaded photos to a social network, sharing of personal data such as contact information is questionable.

On Wednesday, a white paper was issued in which the company explained why both of the directives contradict each other. Also, it was said that the company is pursuing outside feedback on how to achieve the two goals.

The concerning thing is that Facebook must make its users’ profiles easily transferable to upstart rivals, according to the new laws in the European Union and California. However, the company is also under strict data protections due to the Federal Trade Commission’s $5 billion civil penalty against it.

The director of Facebook’s privacy and public policy Stephen Satterfield says that there hasn’t been a lot of guidance on how to resolve the two issues. He referred to the paper as being the company’s opening attempt at resolving trade-offs between privacy and openness.

As mentioned above, the company is seeking input from regulators as well as other tech companies as it doesn’t want make these decisions separately.

In addition to clarifying what data should be allowed to be ported, Facebook also demands guidance on how to deal with the privacy risks associated with the data being transferred from the platform. The company is using the example of Cambridge Analytica scandal to voice its concerns.

The paper questions that who should be held responsible in case the user data that is accessible to an outside body gets misused.

Supporters of greater competition in social media argue that Facebook should be able to manage privacy without crushing rivals. In order for people to be given real alternatives to Facebook, the company would have to engage its platforms with the competitors instead of allowing a one-time data transfer.

Economist and former deputy attorney general Fiona Scott Morton says that Facebook meshing with other social networks would revive competition instead of harming the company. However, she believes that Facebook wouldn’t support this idea for competitive reasons.

According to Fiona, if rivals are given access to the platform, users could remain linked to Facebook while testing other social media platforms that either shared either ad revenue with their consumers or offered an ad-free experience for a certain cost, for example.

However, Facebook argues in the paper that interoperability would require the company to redesign the open-access conditions that led to Cambridge Analytica.

According to Ms. Scott Morton however, the lesson Facebook should learn from Cambridge Analytica is that allowing a quiz application to have access to user data is a mistake.

Mr. Satterfield added that as of now, it’s unclear who should oversee the process and how responsibility for the transferred data should be handled. Still, it is working in association with tech companies such as Apple Inc., Google and Microsoft Corp. to devise an industry framework for interoperable platforms.

Mr. Satterfield also said that Facebook would continue making efforts towards allowing users to meaningfully transfer their data, with or without the regulatory guidance or industry consensus.

He noted that Facebook plans on holding a series of global events regarding the issues highlighted in the paper as unless these issues are resolved, the company would not be able to build portability to its full extent.

Photo: LUIS ACOSTA via Getty Images

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