Latest in Richard branson

Image credit:

Richard Branson: Government regulation of Facebook 'makes sense'

JP Mangalindan, @jpmanga
March 29, 2018
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is joining the growing chorus of top executives calling for government regulation to restrict Facebook (FB) and other companies’ ability to use customer data.

“I think some sensible regulation most likely makes sense,” Branson told Yahoo Finance during an interview on Wednesday at the Adobe Summit, held in Las Vegas, Nevada. “As the CEO of Apple said recently, you don’t want to kill the companies, but some sensible regulation here is probably needed. I mean, obviously, it’s best the companies can regulate themselves. Let’s see what ideas they come up with, but possibly some government regulation may be needed as well.”

Branson would obviously know. As Virgin Group has evolved over more than four decades, so has the sheer amount of customer data it manages and keeps private. Since co-founding Virgin Group in 1970, the British multinational corporation now controls over 400 companies around the world covering a range of industries, from health care (Virgin Care), hotels (Virgin Hotels) to space travel with Virgin Galactic.

Branson’s comments come on the heels of controversial remarks made by Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook over the last week over revelations earlier this month that Cambridge Analytica, a voter-profiling company, had abused Facebook’s terms of service and harvested the data of some 50 million Facebook users as part of a targeted advertising campaign to help elect Donald Trump. Cook stated in no uncertain terms that the situation had become “so dire” and “so large” that “well-crafted regulation” was likely necessary.

“We could make a ton of money if we monetized our customers, if our customers were our product,” Cook said in an interview with Recode and MSNBC that will air on April 6. “We’ve elected not to do that … We’re not going to traffic in your personal life. Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty.”

Likewise, Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM (IBM), has also come out swinging, stating at a Beijing event earlier this week that companies dealing with customer data have to be transparent in how they use — and allow third-parties to use — that data so “they should never be surprised.”

“(We have to let) people opt in and opt out and be clear that ownership of the data does belong to the creator,” Rometty added.

JP Mangalindan is the Chief Tech Correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Email story tips and musings to jpm@oath.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

More from JP

 

 

 

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

SpaceX scales back plans for Starship's first high-altitude flight

SpaceX scales back plans for Starship's first high-altitude flight

View
Windows XP source code leak sheds light on Microsoft's OS history

Windows XP source code leak sheds light on Microsoft's OS history

View
SpaceX's reused rockets will carry national security payloads for the first time

SpaceX's reused rockets will carry national security payloads for the first time

View
Here's everything Amazon announced at its big hardware event

Here's everything Amazon announced at its big hardware event

View
Dark mode is coming to WhatsApp for Android

Dark mode is coming to WhatsApp for Android

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr