Menlo Park, California-based Facebook has also touted safety as a reason for data collection in at least two other cases with lawmakers: sharing data between WhatsApp and Facebook, and tracking people who don’t use Facebook on sites around the web. Zuckerberg during this week’s EU hearing reiterated that the tracking of non-users was needed for security purposes. On Wednesday, Facebook clarified that it also keeps tabs on people who don’t have accounts on sites it doesn’t own to serve them ads suggesting they sign up for Facebook.
Zuckerberg, in responding to European and U.S. lawmakers’ questions, has generally avoided talking about the business reasons behind Facebook’s strategies. Instead, he has sought to portray Facebook as a benevolent business with more interest in user well-being than profits. That rhetoric has been well-received by some lawmakers, who see it as Facebook’s recognition of its growing responsibility in society. It’s been panned by others as disingenuous.
Facebook said it would cooperate with European authorities on any of their antitrust questions. But the company also pointed out that users have other options. If someone wants to post a video, for example, that person can post it on Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, Snapchat and DailyMotion. If a business wants to advertise, it can choose to do so on Spotify Ltd., Amazon.com Inc., Snap Inc.’s Snapchat, Google or Twitter.
Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google dominate in digital advertising and are capturing most of the market’s growth. But Facebook said when it comes to the entire $650 billion global advertising market, its share makes up just 6 percent.