FB says open to be held accountable over users’ data
Admitting that it does not have all the answers when it comes to ensuring data privacy, Facebook has said there are many opportunities for businesses and regulators to embrace modern design methods and collaborate to find innovative ways to hold organisations, including itself, accountable.
In a white paper released last week, Facebook said it recognises the responsibility “we have to make sure that people are informed about the data that we collect, use, and share”.
“As improvements to technology challenge historic approaches to effective communications with people about privacy, companies and regulators need to keep up with changing times,” said Erin Egan, Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer, Public Privacy at Facebook.
The white paper comes at a time when the social network is facing critical questions over maintaining users; data privacy and security.
The Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) in May submitted a preliminary decision in a probe into Facebook and Twitter whether it complied with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to other member states of the European Union (EU).
The Irish watchdog sent a preliminary decision to Facebook-owned WhatsApp for their submissions and made further progress in three other investigations related to Facebook.
Facebook has come under the most scrutiny, with eight individual probes and two are into WhatsApp and one into Instagram.
According to Egan, Facebook wants to work with regulators, companies, and other interested third parties to develop new ways of informing people about their data, empowering them to make meaningful choices, and holding ourselves accountable.
“We’ll continue working with regulators, policymakers, companies and other experts to ensure people are well-informed about data and privacy choices,” he said.
The company said it will explore new ways to hold companies, including itself, accountable for communicating these clearly.
“We believe that if we grapple with these complex issues now, we can help improve future regulation and make it easier for people to understand and manage their data,” said Facebook.
Facebook last year agreed to pay $5 billion to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as fine for users’ privacy violations in the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving millions of users.
There have been important improvements to privacy and data protection laws and regulations in recent years, like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that aim to make data practices more transparent.
“In order for people to understand what privacy policies actually mean, companies need to communicate data practices and user rights clearly and adapt policies for new technologies. That’s why wea¿ve called for robust privacy laws that require companies to clearly explain data practices and choices,” Facebook elaborated.