Free Speech Platform Parler: ‘Facebook Egregiously Spun Their Six-Year Web of Lies’

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Social media start-up Parler is once again punching above its weight class, saying that Facebook ought to pay more than the $5 billion fine recently approved by a federal judge for the company’s violations of user privacy.

Facebook agreed last year to pay a record $5 billion fine to the Federal Trade Commission to settle a government investigation into its privacy practices. The settlement, which was approved last week by a federal court in Washington, D.C., also requires Facebook to improve privacy protections for its 2 billion users and report to an independent oversight board.

The social media giant was caught up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the personal information of millions of Facebook users was used without their consent ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Parler said in a statement Tuesday that $5 billion is inadequate given Facebook’s valuation, which exceeds $550 billion, and the seriousness of the offense.

“Facebook conned and misled its community members by using their private information to build an empire” Parler Chief Marketing Officer Elise Rhodes said in a statement this week.

“They got caught with their back against the wall and agreed to stop the abuse. Facebook then made the conscious and intentional decision to keep exploiting, plundering, and peddling their community member’s data for every possible penny with the objective to extract every ounce of flesh. While Facebook egregiously spun their six-year web of lies, their value exploded to nearly $600 billion. In that perspective, what’s a $5 billion fine?”

Facebook has defended the settlement, saying last week that it goes beyond what the law requires. “The agreement approved today goes beyond anything required by U.S. law, and we believe that it can and should serve as a roadmap for more comprehensive privacy regulation, as other parts of the world have explored. We hope this leads to further progress on developing consistent legislation in the U.S. and elsewhere,” Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Michel Protti said in a statement.

“Ultimately, our goal is to honor people’s privacy and focus on doing what’s right for people. We believe that’s what the billions of people who use our products expect from us, and we’re going to keep doing that work for them.”

Parler, which launched in 2018, promotes itself as a politically unbiased platform that protects its users’ rights.

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