Netherlands-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitonic said on Wednesday that it had deleted its Facebook page, creating another flashpoint in the battle between established technology firms and cryptocurrency startups. The social media giant has made itself an easy target with its failings around user data protection in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. And in the European Union, new data privacy regulations coming into effect later this year means the issue is taking on increased importance.
Bitonic Announces the Deletion on Its Facebook Page
Bitonic took a marked position against Facebook in announcing the deletion of its Facebook page. In its tweet, Bitonic even used the #deletefacebook hashtag that had gained popularity in the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal.
Because of recent developments in regard to privacy matters, Bitonic has made the decision to delete its Facebook page. Of course, you can reach us by Telegram, Signal and our contact page https://t.co/fqjDgAB0nl as usual. #deletefacebook
— Bitonic (@Bitonic) April 11, 2018
The struggle between established technology companies like Facebook and the crypto world recently escalated, with Facebook announcing in March that it will be banning cryptocurrency advertisements later this year. Google, Twitter, Snapchat, MailChimp and others have followed suit by restricting cryptocurrency-related content to various degrees on their platforms.
The clear stance by Facebook against cryptocurrencies could hurt Bitonic’s crypto-trading business.
In a blog post, Bitonic didn’t say explicitly what “recent developments” led to the decision, but appears to be sending a message to Facebook because of the social media company’s missteps around data protections:
Because of recent developments in regard to privacy matters, Bitonic has made the decision to delete its Facebook page. We consider guarding your privacy and careful storage of sensitive information to be of utmost importance. For this reason, we have to conclude using Facebook does not align with our core values.
Facebook recently said that up to 87 million users may have had their private data improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. The CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, was suspended from his position in March. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been testifying in front of the American Congress for the last two days.
The decision by Bitonic to delete its Facebook page may also just have been a publicity stunt, as it comes one day after 22 European countries established the European Blockchain Partnership, which is intended to promote adoption of E.U.-wide blockchain applications.
E.U. Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, said in a press release that the partnership was intended “to promote user trust and the protection of personal data.”
Data Privacy Taking on Increased Importance in EU
The European Union is moving towards higher levels of protection for personal data, with the E.U.-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulation coming into force on May 25. The GDPR is a series of new data protection laws whose goal is to protect E.U. citizens from privacy and data breaches. It will apply to all companies processing the personal data of E.U. citizens, and thus includes companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.
The regulation grants several rights to consumers, such as notification in case of a data breach, right to access personal data held by private companies, the right to be forgotten and the right to transmit personal data between companies.
Organizations that breach the GDPR can fined up to 4 percent of annual global turnover, which in the case of Google or Facebook could be a huge amount. It appears likely that Facebook’s data sharing with Cambridge Analytica would have violated the GDPR had it been in effect.
With their Facebook page in the digital dustbin, Bitonic customers must now contact the company via Telegram, Signal or their contact page.
Was it the right move? What do you think of Facebook’s data-handling practices? Let us know in the comments.
Images via Bitonic, #deletefacebook
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