Facebook calls for data portability laws as it expands the types of info users can transfer to other services

3 weeks ago 13

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies astatine a House Financial Services Committee proceeding successful Washington, October 23, 2019.

Erin Scott | Reuters

Facebook is renewing its calls for Congress to make guidelines astir however online services should marque users' information disposable to transportation to different platforms arsenic it expands its ain diagnostic to bash conscionable that.

Facebook announced Monday it's expanding a instrumentality that allows users to transportation their information to different services. Facebook volition present alteration users to transportation a transcript of their posts and notes to Blogger, Google Docs and WordPress. The institution already has a mode for users to transportation their photos and videos to different services arsenic well.

Lawmakers person advocated for alleged information portability functions arsenic a mode to level the playing tract for newer entrants into the tech industry. Facebook has attracted antitrust scrutiny and is presently facing ineligible challenges from the Federal Trade Commission and a wide conjugation of states for allegedly maintaining monopoly powerfulness illegally. Some lawmakers judge that if users could much easy instrumentality their information disconnected of Facebook's services, it could incentivize them to leave. This would past unfastened a way for caller innovators to turn successful the societal media space.

Facebook itself has advocated for information portability laws, and it is utilizing Monday's motorboat to exemplify however firmer guidelines astir the process could alteration a greater, and much secure, travel of information betwixt services.

For example, erstwhile users transportation their posts and notes done the caller feature, those transfers volition not see comments from Facebook friends oregon posts that friends near connected a users' page. That's due to the fact that of the ineligible ambiguity that exists astir who owns that data, particularly successful the absence of a national integer privateness law. Facebook already got into occupation for however it granted a third-party developer entree to friends' idiosyncratic information without their explicit support during the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

In a white paper published successful 2019, Facebook raised questions astir whether a platform's "social graph" — oregon their web of friends a idiosyncratic maintains connected the level — should beryllium portable to different services. While the thought of portability aims for users to instrumentality ownership implicit their information and alteration greater competition, it tin tally into privateness concerns erstwhile it's unclear who owns the information oregon has opted into the transfer.

There's besides uncertainty astir which services should beryllium liable if information is compromised successful the midst of a transfer. Facebook believes this is different spot wherever Congress could wide up confusion.

Congress could besides acceptable standards for the types of information that services should marque disposable for transfer. They could besides acceptable guardrails to forestall definite types of information from being required to beryllium transferred.

Some information Facebook collects is done passively oregon includes inferences the work makes astir users, including to support the integrity of the service. For example, Facebook nationalist argumentation manager Bijan Madhani said the institution volition marque inferences based connected relationship enactment to find if they are tally by bots. He suggested it whitethorn payment users to support that information retired of portability requests successful bid to support the integrity of that feature.

Madhani said Facebook plans to proceed moving connected the instrumentality and adhd destinations for users to transportation their data. He said consumers could look to the information types already disposable for download to get a consciousness for what could travel adjacent for the transportation tool.

Though Facebook previously teamed up with different manufacture players to make an unfastened root level that tin beryllium utilized to transportation information betwixt services, Madhani said this is an country that requires authorities enactment to backmost up manufacture standards.

"The deficiency of imaginable concern with the authorities determination tin permission folks feeling, 'well, OK, immoderate we're doing here, erstwhile propulsion comes to shove, whitethorn not person the existent unit of instrumentality erstwhile existent litigation is connected the table,'" helium said. "Self regularisation is bully but self-regulation without a authorities regularisation backstop is little nice."

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