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A new privacy governance within Facebook’s organization

By Pot Project | Pot News | 14 May 2020

Facebook recently revealed the new privacy committee, the decision was taken in it’s board of directors, a measure required under the agreement with federal regulators of the FTC after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Mark Zuckerberg's company has announced that the committee members are directors Peggy Alford, Nancy Killefer (President) and Robert M. Kimmitt.

The committee would meet every three months and issue periodic privacy reports.

Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica scandal


The privacy scandal linked to Cambridge Analytica, a company which had illegally owned the data of about 87 million social network users for political purposes, led Facebook to enter into a $ 5 billion deal with the Federal Trade Commission of the United States.

This agreement required a number of changes to the company, including the formation of the board's privacy committee, however criticized by some privacy advocates for not requiring wider changes in Facebook's operations.

The FTC has investigated the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which exploded in March 2018 and is evaluating whether a binding agreement signed in 2011 with Facebook called 'consent decree' has been violated, according to which users must always be advised of the possible use of their personal data which it can only happen with their consent.

Therefore, not only a potential big fine but a new governance of privacy within the Facebook organization chart. The FTC would "essentially" have a veto over the choice of the external and independent privacy manager.

But these additional remedies are not decisive for really changing user data management, for two reasons:

  • The birth of an internal Facebook committee would not be independent and does not automatically create a management in full respect of the privacy of the members.
  • The 'Guarantor' or external and independent privacy manager who should keep an eye on data management would also be chosen by Facebook, even if the FTC should have the right of veto.

We will see how the negotiation between Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission will end, if in addition to the expected fine of up to 5 billion, the agreement on a new governance on user privacy will be reached.

In the absence of a shared agreement between the two parties, the matter could end in court.

A privacy committee also for WhatsApp


The FTC would have asked Facebook to create a privacy supervision committee also for WhatsApp, messaging company owned by Zuckerberg since 2014. The user privacy surveillance committee must be independent and must include a responsible officer who will be appointed by the FTC.

In addition, as part of the agreement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be appointed as the designated "Compliance Officer" of the company, making him personally responsible if Facebook violates the privacy policy.

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