Daily Management Review

Facebook’s EU Regulator Is Not Convinced Of Zuckerbergs’ Privacy Pledge


Facebook’s EU Regulator Is Not Convinced Of Zuckerbergs’ Privacy Pledge
Mark Zuckerberg’s privacy push and pledged has not been able to convince its European regulator – the Irish antitrust body, which is currently conducting almost a dozen probes into Fracebook.
A news report in the Wall Street Journal had claimed that the founder and CEO of Facebook had been aware of the existing of the possible privacy issues faced by it which was because of the business practices of the largest social media company of the world which led to its stocks dropping on Wednesday.
“It’s all going to remain to be seen” whether Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pledges to make the platform secure and adhere top privacy norms, said Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon in a television interview recently.
The current investigations against Facebook and other U.S. tech giants would continue to be conducted by the Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) amidst increased scrutiny of such companies all across the world, Dixon said.
“There will certainly be some of the investigations into Facebook that will reach a conclusion in the coming months,” Dixon said in the interview. She has met and spoke with “a number of the senior executives at Facebook”, she added.
When questions about whether regulators at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have been contacted by Ireland’s data protection authorities about a potential probe in the US against Facebook, Dixon replied “we’ve had some conversations.”
“We’re all coming at the same issues from the different legal frameworks under which we operate under very similar goals in terms of the outcomes and the changes in behavior that we’re hoping to drive,” she said.
The past has been tough for Facebook as it has faced criticism from politicians and regulators after the company was found to be at the center of a slew of privacy scandals and data breaches. In March, a “privacy-focused” future for the company was outlined by the company CEO Mark Zuckerberg and in April, the company said that a fine of up to $5 billion is expected by it to be paid to the FTC because of possible infringement of a 2011 consent decree.
The company is cooperating completely with the probe of the FTC and “at no point did Mark or any other Facebook employees knowingly violate the company’s obligations under the FTC consent order,” Facebook said.
Currently there are 11 ongoing probes into the activities of Facebook and its subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram is being conducted by Ireland’s DPC. The probe matters range from Facebook receiving users’ consent to notifying authorities of data breaches within a required 72-hour window.
The Irish DPC supervises the tech companies under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) because most of the big tech companies have their EU headquarters in Ireland.
About a year ago, the European Union adopted the new privacy law called GDPR which is applicable across Europe. The main aim of the new regulation is to give users greater control over their own data and the information that they share online. For example, under this law, users are now allowed to access and delete their data that is available online. The law also provisions huge fines for companies that violate the law and could be up to 4 per cent of the total global annual revenues for the companies or up to 20 million euros ($22.6 million), whichever is higher. Based on its fiscal year 2018 revenue, this amount could be as high as $2 billion for Facebook.