The State Secretary thinks that the data of Facebook users is not sufficiently protected. It is unclear how their data is processed and with whom it ends up. For example, there is a risk that sensitive personal data will end up with the security services of the United States, where the social network’s parent company Meta is located.
The cabinet does not want to be responsible for the risks that the Dutch run when they visit government pages on Facebook. That is why Van Huffelen asks the social medium to take a long list of measures. One is not to store data from Dutch visitors to government Facebook pages in the US. This data may also not be kept for longer than a week.
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The State Secretary says he is discussing this with Meta. According to the authors of the report, it is “unlikely” that all these measures will actually be taken. “If the risks are not sufficiently removed, there is no other option than to stop using government Facebook pages,” says van Huffelen.
Quitting Facebook also has major drawbacks, Van Huffelen admits. The widely used social medium is an important channel for the government to communicate with citizens. The State Secretary will therefore also investigate the extent of the consequences if the government no longer uses this and whether there are alternatives.
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The Netherlands will not be the first country whose government stops using Facebook. The German equivalent of the Dutch Data Protection Authority made a similar decision at the beginning of this year. This prompted the Secretary of State to conduct an investigation. This fits in with a new strategy of the cabinet to be stricter towards social media.