Facebook pushes for data portability legislation

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Facebook has pushed for legislation that makes it easier for users to transfer photos and videos to a rival technology platform, in comments it sent to the Federal Trade Commission ahead of a hearing on the topic on the 22nd of September.

Data portability – regarded a possible remedy for large technology companies whose control of social networking material makes it tougher for smaller competitions to get started – has become a key part of the antitrust debate in the United States and Europe.

In April, Facebook enabled users in the US and Canada to transfer photos and videos to Alphabet-owned Google Photos for the first time – a move that’s likely to help the company respond to US regulators and lawmakers, that are investigating its aggressive practices and allegations it has stifled competition.

“The FTC often issues reports following these workshops… I think their recommendations should include dedicated portability legislation,” Bijan Madhani, privacy and public policy manager at Facebook told journalists at our partner news agency, Reuters.

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It would require large tech platforms to allow their users easily transfer their data to other services.

The bill is a good first step, Madhani stated. Facebook has participated with the lawmakers on it and will continue working together, he added.

Facebook is also seeking regulatory advice, in the form of an independent body or regulator, in answering policy questions and helping them address liability issues tied to portability, Madhani said.

The social media platform is also pressing for more clarity on what kinds of data should be portable and who’s responsible for protecting such information as it moves to various services, he added.

Data portability is a requirement under the European Union’s privacy law called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s privacy law called the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA).

Facebook developed its information portability tool as a member of the Data Transfer Project – which was made to allow web users to easily move their information between online service providers each time they want – and counts Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Apple among its contributors.

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The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington. Editing by Chris Sanders.

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