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Zelnick: "We have to trust Facebook"

Take-Two CEO concerned over recent privacy breach but says self-regulation does work

Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick has said that consumers and businesses must trust Facebook despite recent privacy breaches.

Speaking to Bloomberg TV, Zelnick said that just because a company gathers a lot of information about users, it isn't necessarily using it without their permission.

"We can trust Facebook and we have to trust Facebook," he said. "Just because you have information doesn't mean it's misused. There are a lot of companies that have enormous information on Americans... and there are pretty strict rules about what you can do with it. It's less about what one has and more about how it's used."

This weekend a report by the Wall Street Journal revealed that a number of third-party Facebook applications including games were leaking user data to data-mining and advertising companies.

Zelnick added that self-policing policies traditionally work well in the entertainment business, and he believes that European attitudes to privacy are more relaxed than they are in the US.

"Privacy is an enormous concern in our business and I think self-policing and self-regulation does work on a lot of the entertainment industry, it certainly works for ratings. We do have to balance a need of privacy with the ability to maintain freedom of speech here, it's pretty important in America. In Europe for example privacy issues have extended well beyond boundaries that I think we'd be comfortable with here. I do think it's an enormous concern and it's growing."

Take-Two is currently preparing a Facebook spin-off of its massive Civilization franchise, but Zelnick made it clear that the company is not as interested in customer data as some of its competitors.

"As we extend into new platforms and new areas we're leading with our brands and our products an we're not leading with big massive customer data - although it would be lovely to have it - it's not what drives our business.

"What drives our business is the most creative products delivered across the broadest array of channels. We are less a customer data company than some our competitors are. What drives us to Facebook is a wonderful platform with hundreds of millions of people who clearly are interested in interactive entertainment," he said.

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.