Privacy commissioner’s office intends to get off Facebook

Federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien says his office intends to get off of Facebook because it does not want to associate with a social media site that is irresponsible regarding privacy protections.

During a press conference, Therrien said the Office of the Privacy Commissioner did have a small Facebook presence but that “we no longer want to be on Facebook.”

“We do not want to be associated with a social media site that is irresponsible,” he said to reporters in Ottawa.

On April 25th, Therrien and his B.C. counterpart Michael McEvoy released its report on Facebook’s actions during the Cambridge Analytica breach that occurred in 2016 and helped U.S. President Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election campaign.

The commissioners indicated that Facebook had broken several privacy laws and that there is “critical weakness within the current Canadian privacy protection framework and underscore an urgent need for stronger privacy laws.”

Therrien did not say Canadians should get off of Facebook, but said they should exercise caution when choosing to connect with friends and family on the social media site.

“Canadians are at risk because protections offered by Facebook are empty. As to whether they want to be on social media I will certainly suggest to them to be very careful about the information they put and the privacy settings that they set and limiting what they put on social media,” he said.

While Therrien noted he did not have a personal Facebook account, McEvoy said he was but that he used it to a “limited degree.”

“I’m careful with the privacy settings, but while I am reasonably knowledgeable about the settings, they are convoluted and difficult to follow,” McEvoy said.

Both commissioners insist that the offices should have the ability to impose orders, something that currently doesn’t exist.

In the meantime, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner intends to seek an order to force Facebook to “correct its privacy practices,” while the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C. intends to use rights under the PIPA to consider “future actions against Facebook.”