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E.U. justice commissioner quits Facebook, describing her experience as ‘channel of dirt’

E.U. Commissioner in charge of justice, consumers and gender equality Vera Jourova warned Facebook that it faces the prospect of sanctions if the company does not comply with consumer protection rules. (John Thys/AFP/Getty Images) (JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

The European Commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality shut down her Facebook account, describing her experience on the social network as a “channel of dirt.”

At a news conference Thursday in Brussels, Vera Jourova said that she received an “influx of hatred” on the popular platform and decided to cancel her account as a result.

“I don’t want to avoid communication with people, even with critical people,” she said, noting her decision to leave Facebook was not to avoid public criticism. Her mailbox is filled with critical comments, she said, and she responds to those people who don’t use vulgar language. “This is my nature, I speak to everybody who wants normal, honest, descent communication.” Euractiv earlier reported on Jourova’s remarks.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At the same news conference, Jourova warned Facebook that it faces the prospect of sanctions from European member states if the company does not comply with consumer protection rules.

One issue is the level of transparency Facebook offers users in its terms of service. In a tweet Thursday, Jourova said, “I want Facebook to be extremely clear to its users about how their service operates and makes money. Not many people know that Facebook has made available their data to third parties or that for instance it holds full copyright about any picture or content you put on it.”

Jourova said national authorities may begin to sanction Facebook next year if the company does not comply with the rules.

“I was quite clear that we cannot negotiate forever,” she said at the news conference. “We need to see the result.”

In an interview with The Washington Post last week, Jourova said that Europe is also “impatiently waiting for the results” of the Federal Trade Commission investigation into Facebook’s dealings with Cambridge Analytica. In July The Post reported that multiple federal agencies had joined a probe into Facebook’s sharing of data with the political consultancy, including the actions and statements of Facebook. The social network learned in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica had obtained Facebook data to create voter profiles but did not disclose that information to the public until earlier this year.

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