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Senators not happy over reported $5 billion Facebook agreement with the FTC

By Cal Jeffrey · 7 replies
Jul 16, 2019
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  1. It was only last week that Facebook agreed to a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over privacy violations. At the time, we predicted that the penalty might be too small to dissuade the social media titan to adjust its Big Data business model. Apparently, Congress was thinking along those same lines.

    Today, Senators Richard Blumenthal, Josh Hawley, and Ed Markey made public a letter they sent to the FTC expressing concerns that the fine is “woefully inadequate.”

    “It is clear that a $5 billion fine alone is a far cry from the type of monetary figure that would alter the incentives and behavior of Facebook and its peers,” the Senators write. “We are highly disappointed to learn that the Commission has apparently failed to reach a strong, bipartisan agreement, sending the wrong message to tech companies.”

    The congressmen requested that the FTC be forthcoming with answers to several questions. For one, they would like to know how the Commission calculated the amount of the penalty and if it determined how much revenue Facebook generated directly from its privacy violations.

    "Facebook's infringements of the 2011 consent decree and its pattern of violating user trust have been both vast and brazen… [the settlement] will fail to hold Facebook accountable for its actions."

    They would also like to know if CEO Mar Zuckerberg provided any documents or answered any questions during the investigation and if not, why he didn’t.

    The lawmakers are also concerned whether Zuckerberg or any of Facebook's management are named in the settlement, whether or not the FTC plans on imposing new restrictions on the company, and whether the agreement prompts any new regulations of its upcoming Libra cryptocurrency offering.

    The senators' concerns come on the heels of reports that Facebook’s market cap rocketed over $10 billion after news of the $5 billion agreement. Many feel that the fine was only a slap on the wrist for a company that had more than $15 billion in revenue just last quarter.

    The FTC has until August 6, 2019 to respond to the lawmakers' queries.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Xclusiveitalian

    Xclusiveitalian TS Evangelist Posts: 788   +173

    They make $5 billion a day selling everyones privacy
    JaredTheDragon, Puiu and Panda218 like this.
  3. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 883   +380

    5 billion is 10% of there revenue and 25% of net income, how the hell much do they want them to take? Fines have never dissuaded anyone from doing something, look at all the people with multiple speeding ticket offense, or multiple DUIs.
  4. Hardware Geek

    Hardware Geek TS Booster Posts: 98   +77

    Most large corporations weigh the benefits and risks of breaking the law, and calculate the fine into their projections. Facebook must have decided that it was more profitable to pay the fine than to follow the rules. If we really wanted to stop this practice, the penalties would be severe enough to make it more profitable to play by the rules.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,504   +3,897

    The only way to make the fine "fair" would be to make them turn over all profits for the past 12 months with a promise to continue this until the practice stops, otherwise simply shut them down ... end of problem.
  6. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,235   +691

    Their revenue is around $60 billion a year. $5 billion is 8.3%, which might as well be "cost of doing business" for them. They were facing a multi-trillion dollar fine, following the letter of the agreement they signed earlier, so just a few billion is just a slap on the wrist.

    Facebook doesn't deserve one penny of profit until they learn their lesson. If it kills the company, all the better - they either refused to learn their lesson, or their business couldn't adapt.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  7. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 760   +593

    Double the fines every offense. They do this with crimes. This is many times more serious. Identity theft worldwide on billions of people? Force the company to be shut down permanently if needed.
  8. Steffen Jobbs

    Steffen Jobbs TS Rookie

    Almost no one cares about privacy. Subscribers happily give Facebook all their personal data for free service. Most people's lives are boring and uninteresting so they don't really lose anything valuable.
    Wall Street loves Facebook because it is so profitable and now Facebook is too big and wealthy to fail. Everyone is scared of Mark Zuckerberg because he wields so much power with all the data he's collected on individuals.

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