Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)‘s fight with the The New York County District Attorney’s Office over user data feels like a public relations move, Michael Fertik, the CEO of Reputation.com, told CNBC in an interview.
The comment comes from the executive after it has been revealed that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is in a battle with the government agency over data pertaining to hundreds of users of the world’s largest social network. According to The New York Times, the social networking giant is of the opinion that government prosecutors encroached on user rights to not be subject to unreasonable searches. Furthermore, it has been revealed that The New York County District Attorney’s Office filed for warrants last summer for virtually the whole account data of 381 Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) users.
According to Fertik, the company fighting the District Attorney’s Office feels a little bit like window dressing.
“The warrant was served. The evidence has been successfully collected by the district attorney. The evidence lives on Facebook. They were not going on a fishing expedition. They were subpoenaing the people themselves and their families who are posting these pictures so it is a very important evidence in this case. It feels a little bit like a PR move by Facebook. It feels a little bit like window dressing,” he said.
Nonetheless, he said that what Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) may be trying to say is that they are going to make it harder for the government to try to do surveillance of people.
In the interview, Fertik explained that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has gone after some police officers and firefighters who have claimed disability and have said they could not work. However, these individuals, their friends and family members posted their activities, such as going on fishing trips, on Facebook, the Reputation.com CEO said. According to Fertik, the evidence on which these people are being charged lives on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). The warrants have been approved by a judge, served and 134 people have been charged because of this evidence.
Fertik also said that he has reservations not only about preventing massive surveillance by “Big Brother” or the government, but also what he calls “little brothers” or companies which have data on people.
Nevertheless, the executive noted that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and other companies like it are usually run by good people who have decent people as employees. This means, he noted, that there usually is a debate inside the company among these people about how their companies will handle user data.