Facebook works on data portability and curbing hate speech


Under the gun and wrangling with antitrust investigations, as well as public outrage over its handling of political content, Facebook has been busy lately adjusting policies and trying to please everyone.


Unfortunately, like the old saying says, you can’t please everyone all the time.


One of the overarching mandates for Facebook right now is to provide what’s called “data portability” – the ability of users to access their own data and move it from one platform to another. The idea is that if people get tired of having Facebook maintain all of their pictures and personal information, they can get those data assets moved into something that’s held by some other company.


As a result, Facebook has are ready signed off on achieving data portability in partnership with Dropbox and some other partners. Facebook is moving to extend this type of agreement ahead of an FTC hearing September 22, and spokespersons cite an “Access Act” bill pending in the American legislature as a further impetus to deliver these kinds of options.


In reporting on this, Nandita Bose at Reuters notes that the European General Data Protection Rule (GDPR) and California’s CCPA both already require a certain amount of data portability.


That’s not all Facebook is doing to adjust its operations. In the news today, we also see that the company is pledging to suppress all political posts in the week before the U.S. election, as a kind of buffer from the chaos and controversy people are expecting this fall as Americans go to the polls.


Internationally, Facebook has also banned an Indian government official named Raja Singh for his role in promoting what some call hate speech. Facebook’s move, though, illustrates how tricky it is to try to restrict various kinds of speech on an open platform.

“Other parameters that (Facebook takes) into account include checking whether they’re a self-described or identified follower of a hateful ideology; or they have used hate speech on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media sites,” writes PTI at the Deccan Chronicle. “To date, the company has banned a range of groups and individuals across the globe for violating this policy.”