Facebook to Antitrust Regulators: Data Is Complicated Comments come as tech companies face competition probes; Facebook to launch new data-portability tool)
Pictured: Nick Clegg, Facebook Vice President says that Netease Technology News on December 3, according to foreign media reports, social media company Facebook recently conveyed a message to regulators and policymakers who are concerned about how the company collects user information: Don’t treat data as a simple resource like oil. The comments came as technology companies faced a competitive investigation and Facebook will launch a new data migration tool.
Facebook Vice President Nick Clegg said antitrust officials should be careful not to treat data as other commodities that can be monopolized, but rather as a more complex thing that can be shared and stored.
“We think it’s reasonable to ask profound questions about how data is retained,” Clegg said. But he added that officials should reorganize their notions when clarifying what he called the orthodoxy of competition policy, and abandon the idea that “using data is equivalent to using limited resources in a limited, one-time manner.”
Craig’s announcement comes as a number of technology companies, including Facebook and Alphabet’s Google, are facing antitrust scrutiny for controlling and using user data. Both the US Department of Justice and the US Federal Trade Commission are investigating the two companies.
A spokeswoman for the European Commission’s antitrust enforcement agency, the European Commission, said the investigation into how Google and Facebook collect user data and turn it into advertising revenue is also in its early stages.
A Google spokesperson said: “We use data to make the service more useful and display relevant ads. We also enable users to manage, delete or transfer their data.” He added that the company is in contact with EU officials.
Clegg declined to comment on any specific investigations, saying only that Facebook is working fully with regulators and that the company believes its tools can help smaller advertisers compete with larger advertisers.
Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, have said the company welcomes the government’s move to regulate tech companies. Craig said the new regulations implemented by governments could help the social media industry restore its image.
Discussions about competition and data have become increasingly prominent, with smaller competitors arguing that after Google and Facebook cut back on data sharing, it became more difficult for them to gain an edge over the online advertising business. Google and Facebook said that they are responding to public calls for greater privacy controls, and in particular to make the company’s strategy more in line with the EU ’s new privacy law GDPR.
As Facebook faces increasing pressure, the company has been outspoken that it wants to provide users with tools that allow them to export their data directly from Facebook to competitors. Facebook is also calling on regulators to define how Facebook strikes a balance between privacy and data access.
Facebook says it will soon allow users to export photos directly to Google’s photo-sharing platform without having to download and upload them. Facebook ’s tool will first go live in Ireland and be rolled out worldwide next year. This is also one of the first results of a project that allows users to move data, jointly developed by Facebook and technology companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter.
Clegg said photo-sharing tools are about the simple end of how to move one service to another, adding that other information, such as a person’s friends list, could raise more privacy concerns.
After the GDPR and new privacy law in California impose some new obligations on technology companies, data portability has attracted more attention. Google and Facebook have provided users with tools for downloading data for years. But competitors still say that it is difficult for users to switch from one digital service to another, a phenomenon known as “lock-in.”
“Data portability is an important feature of a thriving digital economy, but Facebook’s statement failed to be a more competitive The online market creates conditions. This is an immature solution that will not have a significant impact on the way people participate in social networks