Facebook’s ongoing scandal over its disclosure of user data to more than 60 companies got even worse this week; The New York Times reported that one of those companies is a Chinese electronics firm that has been flagged by U.S. officials as a national security threat.
While Facebook normally faces public blowback for this kind of disclosure, it usually takes a while for lawmakers to jump into the fray. However, the reaction this time from U.S. politicians was surprisingly swift and harsh following the report’s release.
“This could be a very big problem,” Senator Marco Rubio tweeted. “If @Facebook granted Huawei special access to social data of Americans this might as well have given it directly to the government of #China.”
Several other lawmakers questioned why Facebook’s relationship with Chinese companies hasn’t been disclosed publicly before — especially when the company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently appeared before Congress.
“Clearly, the company’s partnerships with Chinese technology companies and others should have been disclosed before Congress and the American people,” Congressmen Greg Walden and Frank Pallone wrote in a statement.
The fact that these stories won’t leave the news cycle is the very best thing that could happen for users concerned with the privacy and safety of their data. The more these issues are talked about, and the more Facebook faces pressure from our elected representatives, the more likely it is that the company will have to do something about it.