The Federal Trade Commission’s reported deal to settle its investigation into Facebook’s alleged privacy violations looks like little more than a slap on the wrist.
The settlement’s reported $5 billion fine, while a large amount to most people, isn’t all that much to Facebook, which generates that much cash every 49 days.
The deal would be further indication for CEO Mark Zuckerberg that normal rules don’t apply to him or his company.
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Mark Zuckerberg must be feeling a bit like President Donald Trump now.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, a confident Trump famously said that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York and “wouldn’t lose any voters.”
After the news Friday that the Federal Trade Commission is close to finalizing a settlement with his company for a mere $5 billion, Zuckerberg has got to be feeling similarly untouchable. If, after all the privacy and security fiascos Facebook admitted to over the last two years — including, but not limited to, the Cambridge Analytica scandal — it gets off with such a small penalty, he’s got to think he probably could get away with murder.
Read this: The FTC has approved a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook
Of course, Zuckerberg’s felt he could act with impunity for years. When Harvard students uploaded photos and other personal information to his newly launched Facebook site soon after it launched, he notoriously derided them as “dumb f–ks” and offered to share with a friend such details of anyone of interest to the person. He repeatedly pushed privacy boundaries in terms of the data Facebook collected from its users and what it did with that information. When controversies arose about that — as they repeatedly did — the company simply took a step back only to quietly push forward again soon thereafter.
Even a previous FTC investigation proved little more than a hiccup. The settlement in that case resulted in no fine. While it was supposed to restrict some of Facebook’s activities and protect users privacy, it turned out to do very little of either. Despite numerous complaints from privacy advocates that the company was violating the terms of the settlement, the FTC didn’t take any enforcement actions against social networking giant.
This time could have been different
There was reason to think that things would be different this time around. The Cambridge Analytica imbroglio resonated much more widely with the public than the company’s previous privacy missteps. That’s probably because of the scale of the data leak — up to 87 million users were affected — and because of Cambridge Analytica’s ties to Trump’s election campaign.
Facebook was already under fire for the hijacking of its service by Russian-linked figures to spread propaganda that benefited Trump’s campaign during that election. The Cambridge Analytica leak suggested its service had played another hidden role in Trump’s victory, allowing Trump’s campaign to exploit the data of Facebook users — collected without their knowledge — to target election …read more
Source:: Business Insider