Facebook has not completely dropped its support for the controversial and recently reintroduced Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), but the company is approaching the bill cautiously this time as CISPA once again navigates the legislative process.
Facebook, which backed CISPA when it was first introduced last year, does not appear in anupdated list of companies and organizations which strongly support the bill (also missing from the updated list is Microsoft and a few other firms).
A Facebook spokesperson indicated to Mashable the company hasn't completely given up hope on CISPA's potential to improve cybersecurity while preserving users' privacy, but the company's statement does not read as strongly in favor of the legislation as it stands.
“Protecting the private information people share on Facebook is the foundation of our service, and we support efforts to improve our ability to protect that information from cyber attack," said the spokesperson in an e-mail to Mashable.
"We are encouraged by the continued attention of Chairman Mike Rogers and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger to this important issue and we look forward to working with both the House and the Senate to find a legislative balance that promotes government sharing of cyber threat information with the private sector while also ensuring the privacy of our users," continued the statement.
Facebook's half-hearted language is a flip for the company — Facebook's Vice President of Public Policy Joel Kaplan called CISPA a "thoughtful, bipartisan approach" that "addresses critical needs in cyber security" when it was first introduced in early 2012. Additionally, CISPA's authors, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), touted Facebook's strong support in prior press releases — something they're no longer able to do.
Why the change? Many of the Internet and Facebook users who rallied against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in late 2011 and early 2012 also oppose CISPA over fears it would violate their online privacy. Some of those users felt betrayed by Facebook's prior support of CISPA, as the company was an ally in the campaign against SOPA. The blowback against Facebook's CISPA support was intense to the point that Kaplan felt compelled to write a blog post in April of last year arguing CISPA would not put Facebook users' privacy at risk.