Facebook To Comply With Privacy Concerns, Will Recruit Public Policy Manager, Data Science Head
Less than a week ago, Facebook officially announced its own cryptocurrency and released a whitepaper to the effect. The Libra, controlled by Facebook itself and 27 other firms which make up The Libra Association, will be officially launched in 2020.
Before the launch, Facebook hopes to get more than 70 other firms to join The Libra Association, increasing the number of members to 100. Now, the social media giant is looking to recruit a data expert to work on the native wallet that will be deployed to hold the Libra.
Growing The Calibra
According to a post on the Facebook career page, the position is for “Head of Data Science, Calibra Wallet (Blockchain)” a role which would require the candidate to oversee and analyse usage of the Calibra Wallet, helping the Libra Association make certain moves on how best to grow the usage and acceptance of Libra and Calibra.
The post highlights a few responsibilities including using the candidate’s expertise for “quantitative analysis, data mining, and the presentation of data to see beyond the numbers and understand how our users interact with our core products.” The Head of Data Science is also expected to “partner with Product and Engineering teams to solve problems and identify trends and opportunities” as well as pushing, supporting and helping with execution of product decisions for the wallet.
The Libra/Calibra Drive
Before the post goes on to explain the person’s responsibilities, there’s a bit of an explanation for Libra and the Calibra wallet which gives any reader an insight to what Facebook’s plans are.
“Our first product is a digital wallet for Libra that will be built into WhatsApp, Messenger, and available as a standalone app for iOS and Android. With Calibra, we want to make sending money as simple as sending a photo. The wallet will be the delivery vehicle for many financial services starting with personal payments, but expanding to online and offline commerce and eventually lending and personal financial management.”
This drive is very noticeable especially because the post for the Head of Data Science vacancy is the second in a very short time. A few days earlier, a vacancy for a “Finance Program Manager, Blockchain” was announced. This post however said nothing about Calibra but it would make sense to assume that whoever gets the job would also have to work on Calibra.
Facebook plans to do quite a bit of work before Libra is launched and is actively seeking qualified personnel to help with the work. At the moment, there are still more than 20 blockchain based vacancies on Facebook’s career’s page.
Facebook And Privacy
This is not the first time an independent, traditional firm would be making a grand entrance into cryptocurrency or even creating its own coin. However, with one as large as Facebook, the game play would be different. For a while now, there have been rumors about Facebook’s interest in releasing its own coin but after it was confirmed, it became one of the most debated topics in the world, especially in the cryptocurrency sector and other financial markets. One of the major reasons why some people are not moved by the Libra announcement is Facebook’s privacy issues.
Even before Libra, there has always been a lot of worry about how Facebook handles data. The fact that there will now be a Libra has dialed these concerns up a few notches. Its however possible that the other firms that make up the Libra Association might help to check misuse of data but at the moment, there is still a lot of apprehension. Some of the partners include Coinbase and also payment giants like Visa and MasterCard and it is hoped that the privacy policies being upheld in their respective firms would somewhat be the same with Libra/Calibra.
Sometime before the announcement, it was disclosed that a few other firms have refused to work with Facebook on its project due to privacy concerns. Some of these firms include Tendermint, Stellar and MobileCoin.
Recently, the founder of ConsenSys and also Ethereum co-founder, Joseph Lubin, touched on Libra’s centralized design. Lubin called Libra “a centralized wolf in a decentralized sheep’s clothing”, openly stating his dislike for Libra’s centralization. He also warned that a lot of problems could arise from centralizing cryptocurrency.
According to Lubin:
“That our digital identity will never merge with Libra’s financial data is a hard perception to shake. It is almost a given, even if they have the best of intentions – ‘accidents’ and incursions happen when relying on centralized architectures.”
Even the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs is concerned about privacy and it has scheduled a hearing tagged “Examining Facebook’s Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations” for the 16th of July.
Facebook Might Be Ready To Comply
Facebook might actually be looking to be a lot more compliant to privacy concerns if another recent posting is to be considered. The vacancy as advertised on LinkedIn is for a “Public Policy Manager, Regulatory” with responsibilities that make it the person’s job to “identify and analyse policy risks and opportunities, trends and issues” as well as to “provide feedback on the potential impact of our policies, products, and features, to ensure policy issues are appropriately considered in their development, and assist with landing of the same among policymakers, thought leaders, advocates, and society.”