Washington, D.C – This week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the Senate Judiciary and House Energy and Finance Committees on his platform’s recent data privacy scandal.
Ahead of the hearings, ACT | The App Association President Morgan Reed issued the following statement cautioning against policies that may impose exhaustive audits on apps and over-broad regulations that stifle privacy efforts.
“As Mark Zuckerberg heads to Congress, we look forward to his acknowledgement of Facebook’s responsibility to inform users about the data collected and used by their platform. His written testimony offers commitments to build better controls for users and strengthen policies for advertisers. We hope these hearings encourage a candid discussion about the responsibilities we each have to protect the data entrusted to us.
“Developers, whether they build native apps or web applications, are required to abide by all applicable laws and many more specific policy obligations to be part of a platform. To uphold consumer privacy, platforms set rules and have the ability to remove bad actors, or work with them to correct their behavior.
“We’re concerned that Facebook’s efforts to right their privacy wrongs could lead to misguided calls for policies that require exhaustive audits of every app or website that interacts with any platform. A regulatory requirement to audit all apps would place an insurmountable burden on innovative companies and lock in big players.
“Not all platforms are alike in how they handle consumer data. In fact, platform competition on privacy is happening today and likely to increase. Regulation that restricts what those platforms can do, and how they can compete, could stifle existing efforts to achieve greater consumer privacy.
“Facebook is facing scrutiny from Congress and the FTC in their review of the platform’s compliance with privacy laws and its 2011 consent decree. But overly broad regulations harm good actors and innovative companies — requiring them to hire legions of lawyers to comply and eliminating competition around privacy.
“At ACT | The App Association, we have been at the forefront of developer education for user privacy. We have dedicated more than ten years to developing best practices and educating developers about privacy standards. We’ve traveled the country and met with thousands of developers to help them understand how to be privacy-conscious and transparent about user data. Platforms have an opportunity to put forth new practices that uphold consumer privacy, but onerous and burdensome audits are simply not the answer.”