Facebook Tackles Antitrust Issues With Data Portability Tool


Facebook is launching a new tool that allows users to transfer their photos and videos to other services, CNBC reported on Monday (Dec. 2).

The news comes on the heels of proposed legislation that mandates big tech outlets allow users to transfer their data to other platforms. In October, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced the ACCESS Act — Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching — to make user data portable.

“We’ve learned from our conversations with policymakers, regulators, academics, advocates and others that real-world use cases and tools will help drive policy discussions forward,” Facebook said in a blog post. “That’s why we’re developing new products that take into account the feedback we’ve received and will help drive data portability policies forward by giving people and experts a tool to assess.”

The tool will roll out first in Ireland and go worldwide before July 2020. 

“We are currently testing this tool, so we will continue refining it based on feedback from people using it as well as from our conversations with stakeholders,” according to the post. 

Facebook released a white paper on data portability in September following a March op-ed about the subject in The Washington Post by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The new tool can be accessed from a user’s individual Facebook settings under “Your Facebook Information,” where data downloads are already available. Users must re-enter their password before the transfer is initiated.

The data portability tool also comes as the social media giant defends itself against multiple antitrust investigations in the U.S. and abroad.    

Facebook revealed in September that it had suspended “tens of thousands” of apps associated with about 400 developers due to an investigation into how developers use its members’ data. In addition, the company has removed several application programming interfaces (APIs), grown its investigative team and created new rules to control access to user data.