This week, Mark Zuckerberg appeared for his testimony against the data breach before a joint session between the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees, United States. Zuck admitted the fact that data portability is a user’s right. Multiple times, Zuckerberg said in the hearing that user owns the data at the first place. Facebook already gives the ability to download all the data through its “Download Your Information” tool.
Instagram spokesperson gave a statement to TechCrunch this week:
“We are building a new data portability tool. You’ll soon be able to download a copy of what you’ve shared on Instagram, including your photos, videos and messages.”
It will help Instagram to meet the requirements of the GDPR, the new European data protection law coming into force on May 25, 2018. This new European law demands the data portability as user owns its data.
Instagram does not allow to drag or move or tap on photos to save them in your device. Probably, it was designed like this to stop misusing the photos. But screenshots have been helping us many times to use Instagram posts in a limited way. Of course, the resolution of the screenshots are not as good as downloaded images in original format.
It is not clear whether you will be able to download the data in its real time resolution or in a compressed format. In coming weeks, you can download your uploaded Instagram photos, videos, GIFs but what you’r gonna do with this data? There is no competitor in the market to the Instagram or Facebook. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked Zuck whether Facebook has the monopoly in the market of social networks? Zuck replied “It certainly doesn’t feel like that to me”, And a room was filled with the laughter.
Well, Instagram will have to open its data vault to survive in the Europe well before May 25, 2018. You will be able to save your data from Instagram. It may help you to seek reference in the case of identity theft or breach of your privacy online. Probably, You can have the idea of source for such breach after going through the saved files in your systems. What you shared online and from where it has been lifted away.
Mark Zuckerberg was silent on permanent data deletion though. There have been concerns about deleting the Facebook account and all the data permanently. Even if you delete the Facebook account the data policy of the Facebook states “…removed content may persist in back up copies for reasonable period of time…”.
Sen. Cory Gardner asked “How long is that?” (Wiping out the data completely out of the systems). Zuck replied “Senator I dont know sitting here what our current systems are on that..but the intent is to get all the content out of the system as quickly as possible…If we tell people that we are gonna delete their data we need to do that.” Sen Cory Gardner further asked “and you do do that?”, MZ nodded in affirmative.
Probably, the same data policy would apply on Instagram also. In coming weeks, you can download your full data before deleting your Instagram account. But there is no certain period mentioned of deleting the back up files completely from their systems.
Here is the full excerpt of Sen. Cory Gardner:
More competitors may rise in the social network industry after the data portability. As Sen. LG said “My point is: one way to regulate a company is through competition, through government regulation.” I believe, It shows the intention of the senators. They want competition in the market to regulate the Facebook. Isn’t it a good step? Other players shouldn’t also get the opportunity to grow among the healthy competition? What do you say?
Here is the 4 min. Q&A session of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s to MZ :
Sen. Lindsey Graham: Who’s your biggest competitor?
Mark Zuckerberg: Uh, senator, we have a lot of competitors.
LG: Who’s your biggest?
MZ: The categories… do you want just one? I am not sure I can give one but can I give a bunch? There are three categories that I would focus on. One are the other tech platforms: Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, we overlap with them in different ways.
LG: Do they provide the same service you provide?
MZ: In different ways.
LG: Let me put it this way. If I buy a Ford, and it doesn’t work well, and I don’t like it, I can buy a Chevy. If I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product I can go sign up for?
MZ: Well, the second category I was going to talk about…
LG: I’m not talking about categories. I’m talking about real competition you face. ‘Cause car companies face a lot of competition. They make a defective car, it gets out in the world, people stop buying that car, they buy another one. Is there an alternative to Facebook in the private sector?
MZ: The average American uses eight different apps to communicate with their friends and stay in touch with people ranging from texting app to email—
LG: Which is the same service you provide?
MZ: Well, we provide a number of different services.
LG: Is Twitter the same as what you do?
MZ: It overlaps with a portion of what we do.
LG: You don’t think you have a monopoly?
MZ: It certainly doesn’t feel like that to me.
LG: So, It does…
LG: Instagram. So you bought Instagram. Why did you buy Instagram?
MZ: Because they were very talented app developers who are making good use of our platform and understood our values…
LG: Is a good business decision. My point is that…one way to regulate a company is through competition, through government regulation. Here’s the question, what do we tell our constituents, given what’s happened here, why we should let you self-regulate? What would you tell people in South Carolina, they have given all of the things we just discovered here…it’s a good idea for us to rely upon you to regulate you your own business practices?
MZ: … well, Senator, my position is not that there should be no regulation…. I think the internet is increasing…
LG: Do you embrace regulation?
MZ: I think the real question, as the internet becomes more important in people’s lives, is what is the right regulation —
LG: Do you as a company welcome regulation?
MZ: If it’s the right regulation, then yes.
LG: Do you think the Europeans have it right?
MZ: I think that they get… things… right.