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Facebook Asks FTC How to Avoid Another Cambridge Analytica

  • Company sends regulators its view on data portability, privacy
  • Clear rules needed for users’ access to friends’ data
Facebook App And Logo As Shares Plunge
Photographer: Johannes Berg/Bloomberg

Facebook Inc. told the Federal Trade Commission that the social-media company needs clear guidance on how to comply with new laws that grant consumers the right to transfer their data, without running afoul of user privacy.

Regulators in Europe and California have ruled that consumers have the right to collect and move their personal information to new websites -- “data portability” laws that are meant to empower people to choose different products, increasing competition for giants like Facebook. But on Facebook, every user’s data is intertwined with that of their friends and family, through tags on photos, posts and locations. Facebook on Friday filed official comments with the FTC, asking the regulator to explain how the company should make data portability work without violating privacy rules that could lead to a penalty. The request came ahead of an FTC workshop on the topic scheduled in September.

“The last time we tried to do this at scale, we had Cambridge Analytica happen,” said Bijan Madhani, Facebook’s privacy and public policy manager. “We want to make sure we are crystal clear on the obligations on us.”