Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the social media company will not allow external parties to access users’ data for advertisement like it did before. Zuckerberg has said the company has come to the realisation that this has been a shortcoming in their systems hence charges of privacy breach.
Curbing illegal access of data by other parties is among a set of regulations Facebook has adopted after an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proved breach of privacy to unknowing subscribers. The FTC’s investigation was initiated after the events around Cambridge Analytica last year, after the organisation harvested raw data from up to 87 million Facebook profiles during Trump’s campaign. Similarly, the company obtained users’ data during campaigns in Africa in the following years.
Besides undertaking a review of their systems, Facebook has said the privacy program it is building will be a step change in terms of how the organisation handles data. “We will be more robust in ensuring that we identify, assess and mitigate privacy risk. We will adopt new approaches to more thoroughly document the decisions we make and monitor their impact. And we will introduce more technical controls to better automate privacy safeguards.” read a statement from Facebook.
Facebook is also passing responsibility to individuals and companies building its products at every level of the company. As a first step under this new framework, Facebook is announcing action that impacts dozens of partners who had access to data to build Facebook experiences or features for their devices that should have been wound down.
These features allowed people to connect with their Facebook friends while using other apps or sync their Facebook friends’ contact information in their phone’s address book and calendar. The social media company says even after announcing discontinuation and wind up of these features by their partners, some continued accessing data through Facebook’s codebase.
The main requirements in the FTC agreement are;
Building privacy into every product: New Privacy protections at every step, More monitoring and reporting obligations, privacy risks are documented and resolved
Stricter compliance measures: Detailed quarterly reports to verify legal compliance, Executive accountability across the company, CEO Mark Zuckerberg signs reports
Independent oversight: Board Committee dedicated to privacy, Independent privacy assessments to FTC, Board, Process similar to how financial controls work
To increase integrity of the platform Facebook says it has introduced a new suite of controls for people to manage the apps they use with Facebook, Rewards to watchdogs who report misuse of app by developers, implementation of new review process for every new API or expansion of existing APIs across the company.
“Under the new framework required by the FTC, we’ll be accountable and transparent about fixing old products that don’t work the way they should and building new products to a higher standard. This means we will inevitably find more examples of where our products can be improved — where data access can be restricted — and we’ll work swiftly to address issues when they surface.” stated Facebook