Dutch Government Considers Abandoning Meta Over Privacy Issues

Dutch Government (Credits: Dutchnews)

The Dutch government announced on Friday the possibility of discontinuing its use of Facebook following a cautionary note from the Netherlands’ privacy regulator concerning the privacy risks associated with the social media platform owned by Meta.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) issued a statement advising the Dutch Interior Ministry against relying on Facebook pages for communication with citizens unless there is clarity regarding how Facebook utilizes the personal data of visitors to government pages.

The Interior Ministry sought guidance from the DPA on the compliant usage of Facebook pages by the government.

Dutch Government

The Dutch government aims to obtain clarification from Meta “as soon as possible, but no later than before the summer recess, regarding how they are addressing our concerns,” stated Alexandra van Huffelen, the Dutch Minister for Digitalization.

Van Huffelen added, “Otherwise, in accordance with the DPA’s advice, we will be compelled to halt our activities on Facebook pages.”

The chairman of the Dutch DPA, Aleid Wolfsen, emphasized that visitors to government pages trust that their personal and sensitive information is secure. Wolfsen stressed the heightened importance of protecting children and young people online, considering their vulnerability.

A Meta spokesperson expressed disagreement with the DPA’s assessment, deeming it factually incorrect and indicating a misunderstanding of their product operations.

Dutch Government (Credits: Piroschka van de Wouw)

Meta reiterated its commitment to ensuring compliance with regional laws and expressed a willingness to engage with the government to facilitate social media communication.

The advice from the DPA underscores the escalating distrust between European regulators and Meta, according to Matthew Holman, a tech, privacy, and AI partner at law firm Cripps.

Holman suggested that the Dutch regulator’s concern likely revolves around the potential sharing of user data with government departments on Meta’s platform, raising security and privacy issues.

Nate O'Hara
Nathan is a seasoned commerce writer with a passion for unraveling the intricacies of the business world and distilling them into engaging narratives. During his academic journey, he delved deep into subjects like economics, marketing, and entrepreneurship, honing his analytical skills and developing a keen understanding of market dynamics.