The government is considering quitting its Facebook pages due to the risks of Meta’s personal data processing policy. State secretary Alexandra van Huffelen shared the news in a letter to the House of Representatives.

Van Huffelen indicates that a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) was recently carried out in response to parliamentary questions. The DPIA examined whether governmental Facebook pages pose privacy risks for citizens through cookie policies and consent forms.

It also looked at Facebook’s algorithmic recommendations and whether citizens are given enough information to understand how their data is processed. In addition, a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) was conducted, reviewing if and how Facebook’s data practices affect human rights.

Risks found

The DPIA found seven high risks and one low risk. Reportedly, Facebook does not clearly inform users about how the organization processes personal data and determines what content users see.

Furthermore, according to the report, the social media giant uses tracking cookies in a misleading way. Data on the behaviour of page visitors is collected without disclosing how the data is used to display personalized posts, recommended content and advertisements. Furthermore, there are concerns about the transfer of personal data to third countries and third parties.

The independent HRIA researchers note that it was impossible to make a full statement about the impact on human rights due to the lack of insight into algorithms and data used. State secretary Van Huffelen wants to discuss the results with Meta. The Dutch government has submitted a list of requirements that the social media giant has to meet to limit the risks founds.

Quitting Facebook

If the risks are insufficiently addressed, the Dutch government will stop using Facebook pages. The consequences of doing so are currently being studied. The results will be published in the spring of 2023. Alternatives will be proposed at that time. Facebook is one of the ways in which the government reaches its citizens.

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