WASHINGTON — In the wake of Facebook confirming that up to 87 million users’ data were compromised by research firm Cambridge Analytica, a member of the Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that the social media giant needs to focus on rebuilding trust from consumers and the government.
FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny and other experts told an audience at New America, a progressive think tank, how Facebook can strike the balance between protecting consumer privacy while maintaining innovation and an open internet.
“I hope this is a moment of change,” McSweeny said. “Consumer trust is incredibly important and ought to be at the top of everybody’s list for what they’re concerned about for their businesses.”
Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer outlined the company’s new plan to protect consumer data in an official blog post this week. Those changes include restrictions to third party data access, in addition to disabling tools that allowed users to search for individuals via phone numbers or email addresses.
“Overall, we believe these changes will better protect people’s information while still enabling developers to create useful experiences,” Schroepfer said in the post.
McSweeny said she hopes consumer outrage will encourage Facebook to keep building transparency with consumers.
Attorney and former FTC employee Henry Su agreed, saying trust “comes from being transparent and ensuring that your users, consumers are truly informed about what’s going on.”
Starting next week, Facebook users can expect to be notified if their information might have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before Senate and House committees next week.