FTC Commissioner Criticizes ‘Terrible Precedent’ Set by Facebook Settlement, $5 Billion Fine

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Silicon Valley tech giant Facebook will reportedly pay a fine of $5 billion to the FTC to settle allegations of mishandling of user data. FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra called the settlement a “terrible precedent,” arguing “breaking the law shouldn’t be profitable.”

The Washington Post reports that the FTC  will announce that tech giant Facebook must pay a fine of $5 billion over allegations of significant mishandling of user privacy. Along with the fine, the tech firm is required to create a board committee on privacy and must agree to new executive certifications that users’ privacy is being handled in a proper way.

The company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg will also be required to certify every three months that the firm is handling user data and privacy in a proper manner. The FTC will reportedly allege that Facebook misled users about the handling of their personal details including phone numbers and the use of two-factor security authentication. These claims are part of a wide-ranging complaint that accompanies a settlement that will end the FTC’s probe into Facebook.

The SEC is also reportedly expected to announce a settlement with Facebook for approximately $100 million over allegations that the company failed to disclose risks to investors about the company’s lackluster security practices. The FTC also reportedly plans to allege that Facebook did not sufficiently provide information to 30 million users about a facial recognition tool used by the platform.

Two sources confirmed the report from the Post to Reuters, stating that the FTC agreement will not require Facebook to admit guilt as part of the settlement. The settlement reportedly includes further allegations of insufficient privacy practices and will have to be approved by a federal judge.

The fine will be the largest civil penalty ever paid to the FTC. Both the FTC and Facebook declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. Some Congress members believe that the fine of billion is too low, noting that Facebook brought in billion in revenue in 2018 and . billion in net income. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) stated last week that a more appropriate fine for the social media firm would be $50 billion.

FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra used Twitter to explain why he voted against the settlement. He argued that the deal “doesn’t fix the incentives causing these repeat privacy abuses,” and stated that “breaking the law shouldn’t be profitable.” Chopra argues that the settlement gives senior Facebook executives including Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg “blanket immunity,” which he says is “a terrible precedent to set.” Read Chopra’s tweet thread in full below:

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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