Facebook fined $5B by FTC over Cambridge Analytica scandal charges

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2019
The Federal Trade Commission confirmed on Wednesday it has agreed to a settlement by Facebook for violating consumer privacy in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, with the social network paying a $5 billion penalty and agreeing to new restrictions.




Reports of the settlement originally surfaced on July 12, with the FTC voting 3-2 to agree to the settlement. In a release issued on Wednesday, the FTC confirmed the settlement was agreed upon, is valued at $5 billion, and that Facebook has agreed to changes to how it operates and a modified corporate structure "that will hold the company accountable for the decisions it makes about its users' privacy."

The fine will settle the FTC charges Facebook violated a 2012 FTC order by deceiving users about their ability to control the privacy of their personal information.

The $5 billion fine is the largest imposed by the FTC on a company for violating a consumer's privacy, and is also the largest penalty for privacy or data security violations in the world. For comparison, the CFPB and States against Equifax privacy enforcement action saw the exchange of a $275 million fine, and the US versus Uber resulted in a $148 million fine.

Along with the financial penalty, Facebook is also ordered to restructure its approach to privacy from the corporate board-level down, creating multiple channels of compliance, and introduces new mechanisms to ensure executives are accountable for privacy decisions.

"Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers' choices," said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. "The magnitude of the $5 billion penalty and sweeping conduct relief are unprecedented in the history of the FTC. The relief is designed not only to punish future violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook's entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations."

Simons continued "The Commission takes consumer privacy seriously, and will enforce FTC orders to the fullest extent of the law."

Notably, the FTC is holding executives for Cambridge Analytica accountable. It is not doing the same for Facebook executives.

Facebook's statement on the settlement advises "The agreement will require a fundamental shift in the way we approach our work and it will place additional responsibility on people building our products at every level of the company. It will mark a sharper turn toward privacy, on a different scale than anything we've done in the past."

The statement goes on to proclaim the company has made "large strides on privacy," insists it will be "more robust in ensuring we identify, assess, and mitigate privacy risk," and to acquire more input from experts outside the organization to tackle the issues.

Facebook FTC agreement


At the same time as announcing the Facebook fine, the FTC also revealed it has sued Cambridge Analytica, as well as filing settlements for public comment with the firm's former chief executive Alexander Nix and developer Kogan. Both have agreed to administrative orders restricting how they conduct any business in the future, and requiring them to delete and destroy any collected personal information.

The FTC investigation commenced in March last year following the revelation Analytica and Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan used a quiz app on the social network to collect data on users and their connected friends, with the latter performed without consent. Analytica used the data to build voter profiles for some 71 million Americans and a small amount of overseas FaceBook users.

Clients of Analytica included the 2016 Presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party during Mexico's 2018 general election. The infringement of rights and the political use drew scrutiny from governments in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    They need to add a 'Zero' to make it a 50B fine. Only way FB will change their awful ways!

    FB has 40B in cash, they would have to borrow 10B. Stock would drop by 2/3's and so would Zuck's wealth.

    If that happened, they would have all the problems fixed in 10 days!

    Increased teen suicide, especially among you girls, visits by young girls to emergency rooms for 'cutting' up 70%. Russians buying ads, Cambridge, data breeches, Myanmar genocide, etc., etc. 

    FB is like the cigarette companies of the 90's.
    edited July 2019 jahbladegutengelflydogmontrosemacsrotateleftbyteAppleExposedkestralmacseekerdedgeckon2itivguy
  • Reply 2 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    They need to add a 'Zero' to make it a 50B fine. Only way FB will change their awful ways!

    FB has 40B in cash, they would have to borrow 10B. Stock would drop by 2/3's and so would Zuck's wealth.

    If that happened, they would have all the problems fixed in 10 days!

    Increased teen suicide, especially among you girls, visits by young girls to emergency rooms for 'cutting' up 70%. Russians buying ads, Cambridge, data breeches, Myanmar genocide, etc., etc. 

    FB is like the cigarette companies of the 90's.
    I disagree ...  they should have added two or even three zeros.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,336moderator
    That sidebar on how FB will protect privacy under the FTC agreement...  that’s gonna make a lot of FB engineers and tech writers and managers take a hard look at their jobs.  

    I don’t mean looking at how they can do their jobs better to protect users’ privacy.  I mean, exercising and selling their vested options and preparing to find another, more interesting and less tedious job.  

    I won’t be at all surprised even to see Zuck begin to disengage; go think about some new challenge to direct his enormous funds and limited energies to.  The bloom is off the rose.  

    Trust me, my entire career was in software startups and I know when that switch gets flipped and you start disengaging from that thing you previously thought was the coolest thing ever and start thinking about the next thing you want to do with your life.  
    montrosemacskestralrandominternetpersonn2itivguyviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,176member
    I agree with the fine (although, it's a joke that Equifax, to whom we are required to provide far more sensitive information and affected 100% of their customers unlike Facebook's <1% providing voluntary information, was fined only $650M by the FTC), but to get into the workings of a company's board by requiring a special board committee is a significant government over-reach into the affairs of a corporation. It flies in the face of over a century of US corporate governance practice and norms.
    edited July 2019 dhawkins541SpamSandwichseanjwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    Yes - lets give the government 5 billion (as in "billion") dollars.  Because, the Government has always done a wiz-bang job of spending our money.

    Curious minds want to know exactly how they plan on spending that money.  Sure as Hell not giving it to any of us.

    Why not just shut FB down for 90 days?  Guarantee they would lose more than $5B.

    Fines are a joke.  Start shutting down these companies and that will get real attention.
    AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,805unconfirmed, member
    okypinoky said:
    Yes - lets give the government 5 billion (as in "billion") dollars.  Because, the Government has always done a wiz-bang job of spending our money.

    Curious minds want to know exactly how they plan on spending that money.  Sure as Hell not giving it to any of us.

    Why not just shut FB down for 90 days?  Guarantee they would lose more than $5B.

    Fines are a joke.  Start shutting down these companies and that will get real attention.

    They'll probably use the fines to fund spy programs or install more NSA code into android.
    dedgeckowatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 2,939member
    And how much of that does Zuckerberg pay? Or the person in charge of privacy? Make them pay it personally and things will change. 

    I listened to a podcast the other day and they guy was saying how companies aren’t too worried about fines; it’s regulation they fear. This settlement talks about ‘changing structure,’ but who decides the new structure? Probably the same guys that don’t get privacy in the first place. How much better do you think the ‘new’ structure will be?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 18
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    okypinoky said:
    Yes - lets give the government 5 billion (as in "billion") dollars.  Because, the Government has always done a wiz-bang job of spending our money.

    Curious minds want to know exactly how they plan on spending that money.  Sure as Hell not giving it to any of us.

    Why not just shut FB down for 90 days?  Guarantee they would lose more than $5B.

    Fines are a joke.  Start shutting down these companies and that will get real attention.
    The Federal government hates the Mafia. They don’t like the competition.
    okypinokywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 18
    I agree with the fine (although, it's a joke that Equifax, to whom we are required to provide far more sensitive information and affected 100% of their customers unlike Facebook's <1% providing voluntary information, was fined only $650M by the FTC), but to get into the workings of a company's board by requiring a special board committee is a significant government over-reach into the affairs of a corporation. It flies in the face of over a century of US corporate governance practice and norms.
    Which does not necessarily make it a wrong move. I think there is some merit to the argument that fines are no longer working as a deterrent (if they ever did), so trying another approach makes sense.
    Ultimately we want to stop any behaviour that damages society and that means trying to educate those people who either don't see or wilfully ignore the wider effect of their actions. Some people don't learn without a gun to their head.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 18
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 650member
    I agree with the fine (although, it's a joke that Equifax, to whom we are required to provide far more sensitive information and affected 100% of their customers unlike Facebook's <1% providing voluntary information, was fined only $650M by the FTC), but to get into the workings of a company's board by requiring a special board committee is a significant government over-reach into the affairs of a corporation. It flies in the face of over a century of US corporate governance practice and norms.
    Equifax’s fault is more like incompetence of security and protection of user privacy.

    facebook’s fault is willingly sellout user data & privacy and unwilling to protect user privacy even they can easily do it.

    there is a slightly different.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 18
    MacPro said:
    They need to add a 'Zero' to make it a 50B fine. Only way FB will change their awful ways!

    FB has 40B in cash, they would have to borrow 10B. Stock would drop by 2/3's and so would Zuck's wealth.

    If that happened, they would have all the problems fixed in 10 days!

    Increased teen suicide, especially among you girls, visits by young girls to emergency rooms for 'cutting' up 70%. Russians buying ads, Cambridge, data breeches, Myanmar genocide, etc., etc. 

    FB is like the cigarette companies of the 90's.
    I disagree ...  they should have added two or even three zeros.
    I like the way you think...All I ask of corporations is, transparency, decency and to be a good citizen of the world. :)

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 18

    I agree with the fine (although, it's a joke that Equifax, to whom we are required to provide far more sensitive information and affected 100% of their customers unlike Facebook's <1% providing voluntary information, was fined only $650M by the FTC), but to get into the workings of a company's board by requiring a special board committee is a significant government over-reach into the affairs of a corporation. It flies in the face of over a century of US corporate governance practice and norms.
    I take your point, but Twitter, Fox News account for, roughly, 12M people.(10M on twitter and ~2M on Fox News.)

    FB has ~2B people.

    I worry, FB has a more deleterious effect on Democracy.

    Am I wrong?

    P.S. Cambridge Analytica had ~87,000 users ascribe to their little 'survey,' but, b/c FB requires users to give up their contacts list, it ended up accessing 85M users.
    edited July 2019 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18

    okypinoky said:
    Yes - lets give the government 5 billion (as in "billion") dollars.  Because, the Government has always done a wiz-bang job of spending our money.

    Curious minds want to know exactly how they plan on spending that money.  Sure as Hell not giving it to any of us.

    Why not just shut FB down for 90 days?  Guarantee they would lose more than $5B.

    Fines are a joke.  Start shutting down these companies and that will get real attention.
    Hmmmm.

    I share your outrage.

    A little thing, however.... 



    (Perhaps, a triviality.) 



    ...the First Amendment?

    :)
    edited July 2019 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 18
    That sidebar on how FB will protect privacy under the FTC agreement...  that’s gonna make a lot of FB engineers and tech writers and managers take a hard look at their jobs.  

    I don’t mean looking at how they can do their jobs better to protect users’ privacy.  I mean, exercising and selling their vested options and preparing to find another, more interesting and less tedious job.  

    I won’t be at all surprised even to see Zuck begin to disengage; go think about some new challenge to direct his enormous funds and limited energies to.  The bloom is off the rose.  

    Trust me, my entire career was in software startups and I know when that switch gets flipped and you start disengaging from that thing you previously thought was the coolest thing ever and start thinking about the next thing you want to do with your life.  
    Good points. I agree about the employees. But Zuck is a sociopath.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 18

    I've kept my kids off Facebook. They are not allowed in-apps purchases. They do not have a Google account or a YouTube account, nor do they have Instagram, Snap or WhatsApp accounts.

    I've just created iCloud accounts for them for Family Sharing and Screentime.

    They can make their own decisions when they grow up, but for now it's my responsibility to keep them off all that crap.

    edited July 2019 GG1watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    ElCapitanElCapitan Posts: 372member
    Well, that's gotta Zuck.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 18

    okypinoky said:
    Yes - lets give the government 5 billion (as in "billion") dollars.  Because, the Government has always done a wiz-bang job of spending our money.

    Curious minds want to know exactly how they plan on spending that money.  Sure as Hell not giving it to any of us.

    Why not just shut FB down for 90 days?  Guarantee they would lose more than $5B.

    Fines are a joke.  Start shutting down these companies and that will get real attention.
    Hmmmm.

    I share your outrage.

    A little thing, however.... 



    (Perhaps, a triviality.) 



    ...the First Amendment?

    :)
    Hmmm.

    What does "Congress shall pass no law" .... have anything to do with the FCC shutting them down on a penalty/temporary basis.

    Anyway, good chat.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 18
    stevenozstevenoz Posts: 263member
    Who gets the $5 billion??

    Follow the money...

    I trust no-one.   Particularly these days.



    edited July 2019 watto_cobra
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