Google, Microsoft, Facebook And Twitter Reveal ‘Data Transfer’ Partnership

Eric Lieberman | Associate Editor

Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook are teaming up to provide users with the capability of transferring data across platforms and services, the latter two social media giants announced Friday morning.

After heightened concerns over data utilization (even exploitation and manipulation), companies appear to be trying to give users at least a little more say over how their personal information is managed.

The four U.S. tech giants want users to be empowered with the ability to seamlessly access their data across their multiple, respective platforms in an initiative known as the Data Transfer Project.

“For example, you might use an app where you share photos publicly, a social networking app where you share updates with friends, and a fitness app for tracking your workouts,” Steve Satterfield, privacy and public policy director for Facebook, wrote Friday in a blog post. “People increasingly want to be able to move their data among different kinds of services like these, but they expect that the companies that help them do that will also protect their data.”

Due to the inherent and proprietary differences of the companies’ technology, this wasn’t always an option.

“Information that is housed on one platform can not be easily and securely transferred to other services. This is not a positive collective experience for the people who use our services and we are keen to work through some of the challenges as an industry,” Twitter Data Protection Officer Damien Kieran said Friday in his own company’s blog post. “To start, our companies want to share experiences and knowledge to carve out a positive path forward.” (RELATED: Study: A Lot Of People Trust Big Tech Companies Even If Majority Think They Will Misuse Personal Data)

With the sharing of data across platforms also comes the promise to protect data, according to the two announcements. But if placing data from one company to another will help in that respect is unclear, since it means that Facebook data, for example, could then be made available to Microsoft, Twitter and Google, conceivably increasing the chances of it ending up in the wrong, unintended or undesirable hands, whether that is hackers or advertisers.

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