Report: Facebook Not Expanding Strict European Privacy Policies to America

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook will reportedly not be expanding a strict new European Union privacy law to their worldwide platform.

Reuters reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated that although he agrees “in spirit” with a strict new privacy law from the European Union, the company has no plans to impose these EU rules worldwide — particularly not in the United States. Zuckerberg told Reuters that the company is working on a version of the EU law, which is set to take effect next month, that may bring elements of the law to a worldwide audience, but did not outline which elements of the law would be expanded.

“We’re still nailing down details on this, but it should directionally be, in spirit, the whole thing,” said Zuckerberg. Based on Zuckerberg’s comments, many American Facebook users may not receive the same privacy guarantees that European users do.  The EU law, titled the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is one of the biggest overhauls of online privacy since the start of the internet. The GDPR will give European users the right to know what data is collected on them and the right to have company’s delete that data. Some American tech firms, such as Apple, have stated that they will give American users the same privacy rights afforded to European users under the GDPR.

Many advocacy groups have pushed for Silicon Valley tech firms, such as Facebook, Apple, and Google, to adopt the rules that the GDPR is proposing. Jeff Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy stated: “We want Facebook and Google and all the other companies to immediately adopt in the United States and worldwide any new protections that they implement in Europe.”

Zuckerberg stated that Facebook already affords users quite a large amount of control over their personal data, including allowing them to delete it. “We think that this is a good opportunity to take that moment across the rest of the world,” he said. “The vast majority of what is required here are things that we’ve already had for years across the world for everyone.” Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser stated that he was not confident that Facebook had developed a plan to comply with the GDPR yet. “I haven’t heard any solutions from Facebook to get ahead of the problem yet,” Wieser said.

Nicole Ozer, the director of technology and civil liberties at the American Civil Liberties Union of California, said that government regulation would be required to protect users privacy. “If user privacy is going to be properly protected, the law has to require it,” she stated.

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