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6 Feb, 2024 09:12

EU state may ban government workers from Facebook – media

The Netherlands has concerns about data security on Meta’s social media platform
EU state may ban government workers from Facebook – media

The Dutch government may ban public servants from using Facebook due to concerns over data security on the platform, De Telegraaf newspaper reported on Monday. Digitalization Minister Alexandra van Huffelen told the outlet that a formal report on the issue was pending.

She said the government has long-standing reservations about how Meta, Facebook’s US parent company which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, handles sensitive user information. Last November, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) was asked to advise whether government officials should be using Facebook. It is expected to issue a response soon, added van Huffelen.  

Sources told De Telegraaf that a memo imposing a ban was already being prepared after Dutch officials considered Meta’s reaction to their concerns to be inadequate. Preparations are being made at government level to disengage the platform, the report claimed.

Last year, the government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte banned officials from installing the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok on their work phones, citing concerns about possible espionage.

The move heralded the introduction of a list of apps pre-approved for government devices. Officials indicated at the time that Facebook and Instagram – another Meta platform – could be removed from the list in the future.

Last week, van Huffelen posted what she called her last-ever update on X (formerly Twitter), a platform owned by billionaire Elon Musk. She told national media that the decision was personal and motivated by X’s refusal to comply with EU data laws.

“That is also the line we have always chosen with Facebook,” she told NU.nl. “We speak to them if they do not comply with the rules. We then have a conversation to see whether they are working on it. But with Musk, that conversation never happened. He is not open to it.”

A number of EU officials have blasted the American entrepreneur for his self-proclaimed championing of free speech. Critics claim that his stance has resulted in the spread of misinformation on X. Brussels launched an investigation into the platform in December.