If you were tuned in to the news last year, it’s likely that you heard that the FTC opened a new investigation into Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild, something which came after accusations of Facebook not protecting user data and sharing it, without consent, with the British political consulting firm that is Cambridge Analytica. This isn’t to mention that the social media giants also saw 50 million users’ data put at risk in the same year.
This is a big moment in the tech industry, especially in America, primarily because this will be the first time the government has shown any real sign of enforcing stricter regulations with these huge companies. Specifically, Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement of $5 billion over repeated privacy violations, and now that the FTC has officially voted and approved this deal, it has been sent to the Justice Department’s civil division for review.
Interestingly, if this is followed through with, it will be the biggest penalty dished out by the FTC since Google was hit with a $22M fine for misrepresentation of how its tracking tools were used. However, many think that even this fine is too much, noting that $5B is nothing to a company that turns over $56B a year. In fact, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute, Matt Stoler, said that “this would be a joke of a fine — a two-weeks-of-revenue, parking-ticket-level penalty for destroying democracy.”