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Dutch government says it may stop using Facebook over privacy concerns

The Dutch government may be forced to quit using Facebook because to privacy concerns raised by the country’s privacy commission. Meta owns the social media network.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) published a statement recommending the Dutch Interior Ministry not to utilize Facebook pages to connect with citizens unless it has a clear understanding of how Facebook uses personal data from people who visit government pages.

The Interior Ministry had previously sought the DPA to advise on whether the government could use Facebook pages in a lawful manner.

The government wants Meta to provide information “as soon as possible, at the latest before the summer recess, on how they are addressing our concerns,” said Alexandra van Huffelen, the Dutch Minister for Digitalization.

“Otherwise, in line with the advice of the DPA, we will be forced to stop our activities on Facebook pages,” she said in a statement.

Aleid Wolfsen, head of the Dutch DPA, said in a statement that “people who visit a government page trust that their personal and sensitive information is in safe hands.”

“The fact that this may potentially include information about children and young people makes it even more significant. “They are vulnerable online and require additional protection,” Wolfsen added in the statement, which was translated into English by Google Translate.

According to a spokeswoman for Meta, “We fundamentally disagree with the assessment that underpins this advice, which is wrong on the facts and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding as to how our products work.”

“We review all Meta products to ensure they comply with laws in the regions in which we offer our services, and will continue to engage with the Government to ensure they can use social media to communicate with people,” a representative for Meta said.

The DPA advice adds to the “growing distrust between European regulators and Meta,” according to Matthew Holman, a tech, privacy, and AI lawyer at law firm Cripps.

Holman believes the Dutch regulator is concerned that user data “is shared with government departments on Meta’s platform and could still be subject to security issues, monitoring, or access by US federal agencies.”

– CNBC’s April Roach contributed to this story.



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