In a display of unapologetic defiance, Silicon Valley giants including Facebook and Uber are planning to ignore new California laws scheduled to take effect in 2020, laying the groundwork for a collision course between the tech giants and state lawmakers.
Facebook recently told advertisers it won’t make changes to its web-tracking services to comply with California’s new consumer-privacy law, which starts Jan. 1 and is expected to impact numerous social media companies, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.
The law will require companies to alert consumers if their personal information is being collected and sold, and to give consumers the ability to opt out of the sale of their data.
Facebook is claiming that routine data transfers may not fit the state’s definition of “selling” data, according to the report.
Internet companies — including the major social networks and search engines — routinely gather user information and share them, usually without disclosing these actions to consumers.
The non-profit digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation recently released a new study showing that many popular sites share the user data they collect with third-party businesses, including data brokers, advertisers, and government bodies.
Uber is planning to flout a different California law that would reclassify its army of drivers from contractors to employees, potentially entitling them to benefits and perks. The ridesharing company is joining forces with Lyft and Doordash to mount a $90 million counteroffensive against the new law, which also takes effect January.
Lawyers for Uber are arguing that the law doesn’t apply to the company because drivers’ work falls “outside the usual course of Uber’s business,” which they define as providing a technology platform.
The so-called “gig worker” law, formerly known as AB5, has already impacted Vox Media, which recently laid off hundreds of freelance journalists who would have been reclassified as employees under the new law.
While companies can challenge these California laws, Margita Thompson, who served as press secretary for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, told Capital Public Radio that the courts may end up enforcing them.
In the end, she said, “it’s not gonna be something that companies can ignore.”