On Wednesday, the social network published a white paper on this new right introduced by the DGMP. Facebook hopes to clarify some technical points with governments while saving time on the subject, quite skillfully.
How to transfer your data from Facebook to Twitter, Google, Snapchat or TikTok? What information can be moved? How to ensure their security during migration and, above all, who is responsible once the operation is completed?
Even Facebook doesn’t have all the answers. But Mark Zuckerberg’s platform still hopes to better define “data portability”, a new right born in May 2018 with the DGMP. More than a year after the entry into force of the European regulation, Facebook published its first white paper on the subject on Wednesday. The stated objective: “to launch the conversation” on this legal innovation, which is as important as it is difficult to apply.
Defined in Article 20 of the DGPS, data portability must allow consumers to migrate their information from one service (bank, telecom operator, social network, etc.) to another. The idea is to encourage competition and to create counterweights against the giants of the Web.
Weighing in on the debate
Certainly, this 21-page white paper raises more questions than it answers. But the document still makes it possible to identify Facebook’s position in the background. For the group of 2 billion users, migrating the entire navigation history would, for example, create an “operational burden” that is difficult for the smallest players to assume. Facebook also does not want to have to control the processing of data by the platform that receives it… In any case, text is a clever way for the social network to position itself as an actor open to regulation and dialogue, or even to “play the clock” by saving time.
Through this white paper, Facebook wants to gather the opinions of regulators, governments and NGOs before making concrete announcements. In the immediate future, Facebook will organize workshops in several countries around the world. “Not only is data transfer a risky business, it is also a subject that involves many regulators,” said Erin Egan, Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook. So we make proposals and we want feedback. »
Although Facebook denies it, the initiative allows it to have an influence in the debate, but also to develop a more favourable regulation towards it. Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has been repeating that it needs a clear legal framework to work better.
The White Paper follows a speech by Mark Zuckerberg in the Washington Post at the end of March. The founder then called for “new regulations” in four areas: hate content, integrity of electoral votes, privacy and data portability. “If you share your data with one platform, then you have to be able to move it to another,” wrote the manager. This introduces choice for users, and encourages innovation and competition for developers. »
A new tool in October
Facebook did not wait for the DGMP to offer a form of portability. Its “Login” button allows third party sites such as Airbnb to retrieve information such as profile photos. Since 2010, users can also download all or only part of their information (posts, comments, likes…), keep them for a few days, then upload them to another platform.
But some associations, such as La Quadrature du Net, advocate full interoperability. This would allow a Messenger user to chat with a Twitter user, for example, in the same way that an Orange customer can call an SFR subscriber. “Without it, portability is absolutely useless, because we remain captive of the Gafam,” says Martin Drago, a lawyer with the association.
Facebook, on the other hand, recognizes that this tool is still too complex. “We are thinking about other tools for direct transfer,” says Erin Egan. We are open to anything. For example, “Facebook could launch” in October “a prototype to migrate photos directly to a competing site, as part of the Data Transfer Project, an initiative launched in 2018 that brings together all the Gafam.