Facebook Funds Campaign To Block Data Privacy Ballot Measure
By Julie Watts, KPIX CBS TV-5, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
March 28, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Even as Facebook apologizes for data sharing, the company is funding a campaign to block a data privacy measure in California.
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Cambridge Analytica is accused of using personal information from Facebook to influence the presidential election, but a coalition of privacy groups are calling on CEO Mark Zuckerburg to stop influencing elections himself.
They say Facebook is electioneering.
Privacy groups say Facebook itself needs to be more transparent or stay out of politics.
They note the social media giant gave $4.6 million to federal candidates from both sides of the aisle, $1.1 million to state candidates, and just last month Facebook contributed $200,000 to fight the California Consumer Privacy Act.
That’s a ballot measure that would give Californian’s the right to know what’s being collected about them, the right to tell companies not to sell it and would hold companies more responsible for keeping it safe.
Google, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are also fighting the Consumer Privacy Act.
The man behind the ballot measure says, it’s not exactly clear why the social media company is fighting it.
“You know they say they’re not selling it. But if they’re not selling it, why are they contributing money against it?” asks Alistair Mactaggart with the group Californians for Consumer Privacy. “All this does is give you the right to know what is being sold and give you the choice to stop them selling it. So why are they contributing money? I’m shocked actually.”
Mactaggart notes that Facebook has access to far more voter personality data than Cambridge Analytica did and that they could easily use it to crush the Consumer Privacy Act or any other legislation.
Privacy groups, like Consumer Watchdog, want Facebook to stop funding political campaigns until it becomes more transparent.
They also want Facebook to hire an impartial, third-party auditor to review how it handles user information. And they want to make those findings public.
Facebook did not respond to our request for comment.