“We do not have an adequate level of control and explainability over how our systems use data,” Facebook engineers say in leaked document.
Facebook is facing what it describes internally as a “tsunami” of privacy regulations all over the world, which will force the company to dramatically change how it deals with users’ personal data. And the “fundamental” problem, the company admits, is that Facebook has no idea where all of its user data goes, or what it’s doing with it, according to a leaked internal document obtained by Motherboard.
“We’ve built systems with open borders. The result of these open systems and open culture is well described with an analogy: Imagine you hold a bottle of ink in your hand. This bottle of ink is a mixture of all kinds of user data (3PD, 1PD, SCD, Europe, etc.) You pour that ink into a lake of water (our open data systems; our open culture) … and it flows … everywhere,” the document read. “How do you put that ink back in the bottle? How do you organize it again, such that it only flows to the allowed places in the lake?”
(3PD means third-party data; 1PD means first-party data; SCD means sensitive categories data.)
“We can’t confidently make controlled policy changes or external commitments such as ‘we will not use X data for Y purpose.’ And yet, this is exactly what regulators expect us to do”