Federal Trade Commission settlement imposed on big tech
Social media giant Facebook will be forced to pay $5 billion and submit to “government restrictions” on users’ private data under the new terms of a historical Federal Trade Commission settlement imposed for privacy violations, according to sources.
According to Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, the settlement includes “government restrictions on how Facebook treats user privacy,” but there are no indications of what those restrictions might be.
The fine was narrowly approved by the FTC in a vote that came down along party lines.
The fine will punish Facebook for letting 87 million users’ data to be used by political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica in violation of a 2012 FTC consent decree.
After Facebook had repeatedly violated user trust by sharing data with advertiser and app developers, the tech firm vowed to obtain explicit consent before giving away user data to third parties.
Last year, British MPs issued a summons to Zuckerberg to testify on the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
It’s alleged the details of Facebook users data was harvested and used to influence the 2016 US Presidential election.
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The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Select Committee, headed by MP Damian Collins, has composed a letter to Zuckerberg requesting an oral testimony from the Facebook founder.
But despite the considerable sum of the fine, it is still less than a tenth of Facebook’s 2018 revenue and a fraction of its $600 billion valuations.
The eye-watering penalty would be unprecedented for the FTC, which has been easy on tech giants like Google and Amazon off easy so far.
The largest ever fine leveled against tech for was $22 million slap on the wrist for Google in 2012 for failure to abide by a previous FTC agreement.
Whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who blew the lid of Cambridge Analytica’s links to social media giant Facebook’s privacy data breach claimed last year that Vote Leave ‘Cheating’ somehow swayed Brexit.