Facebook is withdrawing its opposition to the California Consumer Privacy Act, the company confirmed earlier this week, with the move being welcomed by a number of privacy advocacy groups in the state. "We're gratified [with the development]," said Alastair Mactaggart, a proponent of an initiative called Californians for Consumer Privacy. The organization called for Google, Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T to follow Facebook's lead and stop lobbying against the November ballot measure intended to codify basic digital privacy protections in the state. "If you are not selling our personal information, why are you spending a million dollars to oppose us," the initiative asked rhetorically.
The act itself will be voted on this November, seeking to allow consumers to identify the categories of personal information companies collect on them and prevent firms from selling such data or in any way sanctioning users who opt out of data harvesting programs. The legislation is also meant to hold personal information collectors accountable for any kind of breaches and leaks that occur as a result of weak protection policies and general recklessness. While Facebook's business model doesn't involve selling user information directly to advertisers but instead selling access to consumers based on such information, the Menlo Park, California-based social media giant still lobbied against the bill until now, having only officially pulled its opposition to the legislation this Wednesday.
Facebook's decision to drop its objections to the act was likely a result of the Cambridge Analytica controversy that led to its co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg being grilled by lawmakers for ten hours in total over the course of this week. The privacy scandal that allowed Cambridge Analytica and one of its associates to mine data of some 87 million Facebook users without obtaining consent to do so from the vast majority of them could have vast implications for all U.S. digital giants and not just Facebook, according to recent predictions. Google in particular has a lot of reasons to be alarmed given how similar its business model is to that of Facebook, many industry watchers believe.