Facebook's latest data privacy revelation, a NYTimes scoop on the social network's program of sharing user data with smartphone makers, is opening it up to increased scrutiny from Washington, Axios tech editor Scott Rosenberg writes.
Why it matters: This news seems to contradict what founder Mark Zuckerberg told Congress earlier this year, and critics of the company in Congress and the media are piling on Facebook.
- As CNN's Dylan Byers wrote in his newsletter today, Facebook "didn't tell the whole truth, it didn't tell it early, and now someone else is telling it instead."
The big picture: Industry insiders are questioning the import of the new revelations, since device makers are a unique and trusted class of "third party" data users — and also since there's no evidence of actual misuse of data this time around.
Democrats have been quick to pounce:
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.): "Facebook’s secret data sharing partnerships raise urgent new reasons for stronger privacy protections—beginning with a privacy bill of rights modeled on Europe’s new rules (GDPR)."
- Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ): “Facebook and other data collectors, including these device manufacturers, should be prepared to come before Congress so that we can get a better grasp of the entire data collection ecosystem."
And Republicans seem more primed than before. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Hugh Hewitt on Saturday:
"We have found, having Facebook come before Congress, that there is a problem there that the users, are they truly knowing what’s happening with their information and others? I think this is an area that Congress needs to look at throughout."
The bottom line: Everything Facebook does with data is now coming under a microscope, and instead of getting out ahead of this story, the company just allowed itself to take another black eye.