Facebook boss Nicola Mendelsohn has defended the social media site’s record on handling users’ personal data, as well as its policy of showing beheadings, claiming people are in charge of their own information.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, UK vice-president Mendelsohn – formerly executive chairman of Karmarama – used every trick in the adland book to put the message across that the company’s mission was to “make the world more open and more connected and allow people to share information”.
Last year, Facebook admitted it had received almost 10,000 requests from the US government security agencies to access users’ personal data, as part of the Prism-gate scandal.
But when asked if Facebook is talking to spy agencies, she said: “I’m not talking to any.”
However, when pressed about the company policy, she admitted: “We work very closely with governments around the world and there are requests from time to time which we have published and shared.”
Mendelsohn then attempted to turn the tables by saying: “We would like governments to be more open about the information they are requesting, because, at the heart of it, the most important thing for us is to co-operate to make sure our users are very, very confident in the platform and very confident in how we protect their data.”
There then followed a “Paxman moment” when she tried to defend the social media site’s policy on showing beheadings.
“I think we really have to understand what it is that Facebook is setting out to do and we are very simple in that we are a mission-based company and our mission is to make the world more open and more connected and allow people to share information
Does that mean you will show anything? “And allow people to share information that is relevant to them,” she responded. Like beaheading? “And allow people to share information that is important to them, ” she repeated.
Privacy fears ‘killing digital activity’
Mendelsohn lands Facebook role
Facebook ramps up marketing data
Customer data backlash looms large
Can you really have too much data?
Prism-gate row: now Sorrell wades in
Prism-gate may scupper EU data war