From a previous rollout in Europe, Facebook’s photo transfer tool is now available globally half a year on, the company said today. Under Your Facebook Details Settings tab, Facebook users can consider the option to “pass a copy of your images and videos”. This is the same menu where users have been able to access a replica of a variety of information relating to their use of their service (including photos) for a long time. However, with the data dump, there is nothing that can be achieved. Whereas the mechanism for direct photo transfer shrinks the friction involved in account switching.
Facebook has said it is building up support for other services. This however requires collaborative developers to build the necessary adapters for APIs for photos. Which in turn depends on wider participation in an open-source effort that is underpinned, called the Data Transfer Project (DTP).
The broader context around the DTP — which began in 2018, backed by several tech giants who were all keen to connect their car to the notion of greasing platform-to-platform data portability — is the fact that U.S. and European regulators are paying more attention to the deleterious effects of platform power on competition and markets.
If platforms can make a plausible case that their users aren’t locked in their walled gardens because network effects force them to stay but simply push a button to move their stuff and waltz elsewhere, they’ll hope to shrink their antitrust risk and dilute the case for sweeping digital regulatory reforms.
Certainly, Europe is looking closely to update its platform power rulebook — with legislative proposals wrapping up digital services scheduled before the end of the year.
EU policymakers are now clearly working on whether the bloc wants a new instrument in its antitrust arsenal to resolve the global market tipping problem — where a major player consolidates a business advantage to the point that it is impossible to overturn. The new power proposed would allow European antitrust regulators to speed up interventions by allowing them to impose behavioral and structural remedies without first having to find an infringement.
Despite all this, it will be important to learn how many Facebook users in the half-year since it launched to a sub-set of users made use of the photo porting tool!
A spokesperson for Facebook told us he didn’t have “clear numbers to share at this time”—but he said” many “users were seen making photo transfers using the app.
At the end of last year, Facebook debuted the feature in Ireland, opening it up to more international markets earlier this year and granting access to users in the US and Canada come April.