Facebook Scandal Prompts EC Investigation

European Commission, European Union

Brussels, April 6 (CTK) – The European Commission (EC) will propose a systemic and strategic solution for EU member states following the scandals concerning personal data, such as that of the Facebook, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourova has told CTK.


Jourova, from the Czech Republic, said she has written to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg due to the recently uncovered data abuse and was expecting her response within a few days.


“It got out of our control. At the same time though, it is a definite lesson,” Jourova said.


Facebook announced today that the identities and personal data of more than two billion of Facebook users could be misused.


According to information of the EC confirmed by Facebook, the data of up to 2.7 million European Facebook users could be misused.


Jourova mentioned the company’s decision to apply practically worldwide the new European rules on personal data protection. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to take effect in May.


She also said the problem was a broader social issue that was not relevant just to a single company, but could be pertaining to the online world in multiple instances.


Jourova negotiated the new agreement on personal data protection with the USA after the previous agreement was annulled by the ECJ in 2015.


The EU should now adopt a clear approach to the developments and plan the coordination of everything concerning personal data protection well, she said.


The EC is now preparing analyses on what rights could be infringed upon by the events around Facebook and companies such as Cambridge Analytica.


Jourova said that exactly because of Cambridge Analytica, whose work was used in the U.S. presidential campaign and in other elections, the EC is assessing the matter from the viewpoint of use in elections, although it is limited in powers in this area.


At the end of April, the representatives of institutions responsible for the organisation of elections in member states are to meet in Brussels, in order to discuss how national laws deal with the profiling of voters and targeted marketing on social networks, Jourova said.


“We do not know this now. We do not know whether that which Cambridge Analytica was doing was a breach of the election law in the individual states,” Jourova pointed out.