When it comes to data privacy, the lawmakers should not allow Facebook to regulate itself because it would not, a former employee at the social media giant has stressed.
Writing in The New York Times, Sandy Parakilas, who led Facebook’s efforts to fix privacy problems on its developer platform, said Facebook needs to be regulated more tightly, or broken up so that no single entity controls all its data.
“Facebook knows what you look like, your location, who your friends are, your interests, if you’re in a relationship or not, and what other pages you look at on the Web. This data allows advertisers to target the more than one billion Facebook visitors a day,” Parakilas wrote late on Monday.
When Russians decided to target Americans during the 2016 election, they did not buy TV or newspaper ads, or hire a skywriter.
“They turned to Facebook, where their content reached at least 126 million Americans. The fact that Facebook prioritised data collection over user protection and regulatory compliance is precisely what made it so attractive,” the former Facebook employee said.
Now the company is arguing that it should be allowed to regulate itself to prevent this from happening again.
“My experience shows that it should not,” Parakilas added.
As the US Congress investigates Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election by using social media giants, a new trove of confidential documents has revealed that Facebook and Twitter received major investments from firms with ties to Kremlin-owned corporations.
The documents called “Paradise Papers”, were obtained by German newspaper SUddeutsche Zeitung and reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and several media outlets across the globe.
The US lawmakers are also eyeing new regulations for social media firms in the wake of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US election.