The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has fined Facebook an unprecedented $5 billion dollars for violating consumer privacy. After a year-long investigation, the fine is part of a settlement agreement that includes expanded privacy protections for users, the adoption of a corporate check and balance system, a data security program that ensures the protection of consumer’s private information and procedures that will limit the power of CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The FTC has demanded that Facebook’s board create a privacy oversight committee. The members of this committee will be independent and required to certify to the FTC that Facebook is complying with all regulations on an ongoing basis.
In response to the ruling, Zuckerberg posted on Facebook, “We’ve agreed to pay a historic fine, but even more important, we’re going to make some major structural changes to how we build products and run this company.”
Although the fine is the largest in FTC history, some critics feel it’s simply not enough. Two of the five commissioners voted against the settlement. Opponents argue the fine has little “sting” to a company that reported
In a dissenting opinion released by Commissioner Rohit Chopra, he weighed in, “In my view, it is appropriate to charge officers and directors personally when there is a reason to believe they have meaningfully participated in unlawful conduct, or negligently turned a blind eye toward their subordinates doing the same.”
While this fine is unprecedented, it will most likely not be the last of Facebook’s interactions with Capitol Hill. As reported by Parentology, Facebook has been the main target of the recent anti-trust hearings surrounding big tech. Congress has continued interest in the power and presence these companies have in the marketplace and over consumers.