FTC to fine Facebook $5 billion over privacy violations

FTC Commissioners voted 3-2 to finalize a $5 billion settlement with Facebook over the company’s violation of customer privacy protection promises. The FTC’s two Democratic commissioners opposed the settlement, as it was not large enough considering Facebook’s $55 billion annual revenue and did not go far enough in holding Facebook executives, such as CEO Mark Zuckerberg, personally liable for future violations.The Department of Justice has yet to approve the settlement. 

“Rather than deter misconduct, the signal here is that the fines or monetary penalties will be a fraction of what they should be,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). 

The FTC-approved fine is insufficient to curb Facebook’s threat to our democracy. Structural changes at the company are required. CWA is a member of Freedom From Facebook, a coalition urging regulators to spin off Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger into competing networks, require interoperability, and impose strong privacy rules that empower and protect users.

Links:

FTC votes to approve $5 billion settlement with Facebook in privacy probe (Washington Post, July 12, 2019)

Facebook under renewed scrutiny over privacy violations and data sharing (Speed Matters, Jan 15, 2019)