After living the worst week in its history because of the scandal of data leakage that were used by Cambridge Analytica, Facebook has started this Monday to apologize in Europe for the mistakes made and has also promised new security measures for its users. For 90 minutes, the vice president of public policy for the social network for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Richard Allan had to listen to a harsh rebuke from the German justice minister, Katarina Barley, who has accused the executive that the data filtering put in jeopardy democracy and the rule of law.
“What they have done is not tolerable”, the minister emphasized, when she informed the press about the outcome of her meeting with the executive. “Facebook admitted having committed omissions and violations in the past and has assured that there will be no further leaks in the future, but the promises they have made are not enough,” the minister insisted.
During her brief speech before the press, the minister said that Berlin will reinforce its vigilance to firms such as Facebook and has assured that during the interview with Allan, he had demanded that the social network should change the way they work. “Facebook must immediately inform its users when private data is being used by third parties,” he said.
The representative of the firm has promised to do so, but the minister received an inappropriate response when she asked the executive why they had not done so in the past. “After one is always smarter,” said the executive to justify the errors and protection changes promises to make the firm.
On the eve of the meeting, Minister Barley used the written press and public television to publicize Berlin’s official thinking on the scandal, which has put the US giant on the ropes. From the second public television network, ZDF, Barley warned last Sunday that Germany and its community partners would defend the right to regulate the rules by which companies like Facebook should be governed.
“We can not and must not accept that these companies impose their rules,” the minister told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, advancing what the position of the German government will be regarding Facebook’s activities in the country. “The State must defend the users in their fight against Goliath.” Facebook knew about the dubious actions of Cambridge Analytica for a long time, “he said.
The latest promise made by Facebook’s top executive in Berlin was to inform, when they have the correct data, of the number of people who were affected in Germany by the misuse of data, a criminal act in the largest economy in Europe. But, something rare in the world of top executives of large companies. Richard Allan, apparently, did not want to appear before the press in Berlin.