FTC Fines Facebook Record $5 Billion and Orders Privacy Checks

The fine has been called a "pin prick" when compared to Facebook's net worth.
Chris Young

After a year-long investigation into Facebook's recent scandals — the list of criticisms against the company is so large they fill a Wikipedia page — the FTC has today formally announced a $5 billion settlement with Facebook, as well as privacy oversight.

Many are saying this is a let-off for a company that's worth $585 billion.


The FTC 'failed miserably'

While the $5 billion fine is the largest the FTC has ever filed against a tech company, it is nothing compared to the company's net worth. Many believe the fine is far less than the social media company deserve, based on their privacy-related violations, which came to a head with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

When the fine was originally announced, many pointed to the fact that the company's shares surged after the news. The New York Times' Mike Isaac said the following:

On today's announcement, Sen. Ron Wyden said, “despite Republicans’ promises to hold big tech accountable, the FTC appears to have failed miserably at its best opportunity to do so,” as Gizmodo reports.

Privacy oversight

In a statement, the FTC commissioners said their order "imposes significant new privacy and data security obligations on Facebook."

Aside from the record-breaking fine, Facebook will be obliged to conduct a privacy review of every newly-developed service or product. These reviews will be submitted to Mark Zuckerberg and, crucially, a third-party assessor every quarter.

As the Verge reports, in direct response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social media company will also be required to obtain purpose and use certifications from apps and third-party developers that want to use Facebook user data.

Facebook will also be heavily regulated on the use, and creation, of new facial recognition technology.

Only time will tell if the regulations prove effective in curbing the company's flagrant disregard for user privacy, but most commenters are currently aiming their anger at the amount Facebook has to pay.

As per Bloomberg Law, Sen. Richard Blumenthal called the deal a “pin-prick.”

Many agree, and calls for people to quit Facebook from the likes of Steve Wozniak highlight the discontent at Facebook's violations — and the light penalty the company is receiving when taken in context.

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