Nick Clegg claims EU’s new privacy regulations will threaten Facebook’s business model by ‘outlawing’ the social network’s relationship with online advertisers
- Ex-Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is chief lobbyist for the social media firm
- Former deputy PM told EU-officials their plans could impact Facebook’s business
- Comes amid crackdown on social media firms after concerns about privacy
Sir Nick Clegg has claimed EU’s new privacy regulations will threaten Facebook’s business model.
The former deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader started working for the social media behemoth last year.
In his role as chief lobbyist, the 53-year-old has told EU-officials that plans to protect users personal messages could ‘outlaw’ its partnerships with online advertisers.
Nick Clegg (pictured centre) with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (pictured left) and chief operating officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg
The proposed e-privacy regulation is being proposed by the European Commission and would mean social media firms would have to request consent of account holders to access their personal communication.
Document obtained by The Sunday Telegraph of a meeting with Andrus Ansip, vice president of the commission said: ‘Nick Clegg stated as main Facebook’s concern the fact that the said rules are considered to call into question the Facebook business model, which should not be ‘outlawed’ (e.g. Facebook would like to measure the effectiveness of its ads, which requires data processing),’ according to minutes obtained by this newspaper.
HOW DOES ZUCK PLAN TO IMPROVE PRIVACY?
In a March 6 blog post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised to rebuild based on six ‘privacy-focused’ principles:
- Private interactions
- Reducing permanence
- Secure data storage
Zuckerberg promised end-to-end encryption for all of its messaging services, which will be combined in a way that allows users to communicate across WhatsApp, Instagram Direct, and Facebook Messenger.
This he refers to as ‘interoperability.’
He also said moving forward, the firm won’t hold onto messages or stories for ‘longer than necessary’ or ‘longer than people want them.’
This could mean, for example, that users set messages to auto-delete after a month or even a few minutes.
‘Interoperability’ will ensure messages remain encrypted even when jumping from one messaging service, such as WhatsApp, to another, like Instagram, Zuckerberg says.
Facebook also hopes to improve users’ trust in how it stores their data.
Zuckerberg promised the site ‘won’t store sensitive data in countries with weak records on human rights like privacy and freedom of expression in order to protect data from being improperly accessed.’
‘He stated that the [existing] General Data Protection Regulation is more flexible (by providing more grounds for processing).’
Mr Ansep said firms could ‘monetise data’ but only after getting consent from users.
It comes after increasing concerns about social media companies and privacy – and shortly after Facebook announced it is shifting toward a ‘privacy-focused’ future.
In lengthy blog post on Wednesday last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg detailed a plan to bring end-to-end encryption to Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram messaging services – confirming previous reports that the firm planned to stitch the three together.
The Facebook boss acknowledged the site’s reputation, which has been tarnished in recent years as a result of its lax-approach to the protection of its users’ information, and promised to rebuild its services on the principle of privacy.
Zuckerberg also said he’s working to ensure your online activity won’t come back to haunt you later in life.
Ultimately, the CEO says the firm is striving to make interactions across Facebook ‘a fundamentally more private experience.’
‘I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever,’ Zuckerberg wrote in the March 6 post.
‘This is the future I hope we will help bring about.’
The Facebook CEO’s post detailing his ‘privacy-focused vision’ comes just days after a tweet from Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge revealed the site allows users to search for specific profiles using phone numbers provided for two-factor authentication.
And, just a week prior, a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed Facebook has been collecting ‘highly sensitive information’ from at least a dozen apps without users’ consent.
In perhaps its best-known privacy scandal, Facebook came under fire in 2018 when it was revealed political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica was given access to the data of 87 million users.
Zuckerberg is now promising to apply the same privacy principles it used in WhatsApp to all of its services moving forward.