Apple has reportedly hired Sandy Parakilas, an ex-Facebook employee who became a prominent critic of the company, as part of its privacy team.
According to Financial Times, Parakilas monitored privacy and policy compliance of software developers for Facebook for 18 months before he left in October of 2012. Back then, he had warned executives at the social media company of the potentially damaging impact of Facebook’s data sharing policies. Parakilas felt his concerns weren’t taken seriously at the time.
In 2017, Parakilas provided the U.K. Parliament with information as it looked into Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal, in which the now-defunct political consulting firm was able to access the information of 87 million Facebook users without their permission. He has called on tech companies to enhance their practices when it comes to data protection and has called on the industry to use encrypted messaging and to verify the truth of statements that people can see.
Financial Times highlighted a 2016 blog post in which Parakilas warned about the impact of social media. “We now live in a world where racist demagogues and their dictator buddies can cynically exploit our tools to seize power,” he said. “There is no such thing as a ‘neutral platform.’ Facebook, Twitter and Google all profited from this perversion of democracy.”
Parakilas worked at Uber for nearly four years after leaving Facebook, and then was chief strategy officer at the Center for Humane Technology, which is a campaign that calls for more regulations on the tech sector and urges people to spend time online in a healthy way.
According to the report, Parakilas’ move to Apple is part of the company’s attempt to stand out from its rivals, including Facebook, Google, and Amazon, when it comes to privacy and data protection. At Apple, he will work with the privacy team as a product manager, people familiar with the matter told Financial Times. In his role, Parakilas will work with teams around the company to ensure that new products protect the privacy of users and minimize data collection.