×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Following Capitol Hearings, Facebook Drops Opposition to California Privacy Legislation

Facebook has decided to withdraw its opposition to a California ballot measure that is seeking to strengthen privacy protections for residents of the state, the company confirmed Wednesday. This commitment comes after two days of intense hearings over Facebook’s privacy practices on Capitol Hill.

If approved, the ballot measure would enact a new law called the  California Consumer Privacy Act, which aims to enforce more transparency over data stored by companies, and give consumers a way to opt out of companies selling their data. The measure, which is sponsored by local real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart, is on the November ballot in California.

It is being opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce.  A campaign against the bill has gotten financial support from Facebook, Google, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, with Facebook donating an initial $200,000. But on Wednesday afternoon, Facebook said that it was no longer going to back the opposition to the ballot measure.

“We took this step in order to focus our efforts on supporting reasonable privacy measures in California,” a company spokesperson told Variety. The move was first reported by San Francisco’s KPIX.

The supporters of the measure cheered the decision. “We’re gratified that Facebook has dropped its opposition to the California Consumer Privacy Act,” said Mactaggart. “We call on the remaining corporations who have contributed to the Super PAC opposing this common-sense measure to drop their opposition.”

The Committee to Protect California Jobs, the Chamber of Commerce-backed political action committee opposing the measure, said that it would continue with what it called “an aggressive campaign.” The proposed bill “is unworkable and requires the internet in California to operate differently – limiting our choices, hurting our businesses, and cutting our connection to the global economy,” the group said in a statement.

It also shared an email of Facebook’s head of state and local public policy Ann Blackwood that called the initiative flawed, while at the same time expressing support for a legislative solution for more privacy protections. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the email, but declined to comment further.

Mactaggart had told Variety in a previous interview that companies were hypocritical if they were publicly promising to strengthen privacy protections while quietly spending money to oppose bills like his. “There is a tidal wave coming, and they are just defending business as usual,” he said.

On Tuesday, Senators grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for 5 hours about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and related issues. On Wednesday, Zuckerberg received a similar treatment from House lawmakers during a second 5-hour hearing. During those appearances, Zuckerberg stopped short of supporting any specific legislation meant to strengthen privacy, repeatedly telling lawmakers that “details matter.”

Update: 7:38pm: This post was updated with a statement from the group opposing the ballot measure.

More Digital

  • Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA Signs Gaming Influencers Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA has signed two popular live-streaming battle royale gamers — Nicholas Amyoony, better known as Nick Eh 30, and David Steinberg, aka StoneMountain64 — for representation. CAA said it will work to create opportunities for Nick Eh 30 (above left) and StoneMountain64 (above right) in all areas, including TV, motion pictures, touring, digital distribution and [...]

  • Amazon Adds NBA League Pass to

    Amazon Adds NBA League Pass Live-Streaming Games to Prime Video Channels

    Amazon is bringing pro hoops action to Prime Video Channels: The ecommerce giant now offers NBA League Pass as part of its lineup of 150-plus subscription options for Prime members in the U.S. It’s the first U.S. live-sports subscription service on Prime Video Channels. Prime members can subscribe to NBA League Pass via Prime Video [...]

  • Fifty Shades of Grey

    International Piracy Ring Stole Over 25,000 Movie and TV Digital Files, U.S. Feds Say

    A five-member international hacking crime ring stole more than 25,000 files for Hollywood movies and TV shows and illegally offered hundreds of them for sale online, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. A federal grand jury in L.A. on Wednesday (Dec. 12) indicted five men, identified as residing in the U.K., India, Dubai and Malaysia, [...]

  • Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president

    Apple to Update iPhones in China to Avoid Sales Ban

    Apple is pushing out a software update to iPhones in China to address a recent court order obtained by Qualcomm that banned the sale of certain iPhone models in the country. The update will allow the company to continue selling its phones in China, company representatives told Reuters Friday morning. The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court [...]

  • Kevin Reilly Variety Cover

    Kevin Reilly Named Content Chief for WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Kevin Reilly — a veteran television exec who has led programming at NBC, FX, Fox, and most recently Turner Broadcasting — has been tapped to head content strategy for the still-nascent streaming service that WarnerMedia plans to launch next year. Reilly, who has led programming at Turner brands TNT and TBS since 2015, will serve [...]

  • Apple Culver City

    Apple Expects to Have Over 1,000 Employees in Culver City by 2022

    Apple announced plans to boost its L.A. presence, saying it expects to have more than 1,000 employees in Culver City, Calif., over the next three years, including its growing entertainment team. The move is part of the tech giant’s broader initiative to create 20,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2023 and includes a new $1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content