Facebook, which has been under fire for months over data scandals, expressed openness to new regulation.
According to a report in Reuters citing Facebook’s public policy manager Karim Palant, the executive said the social media giant is “open to meaningful regulation.” His comments came following calls by lawmakers in the U.K. for large tech companies to have to meet a code of ethics to prevent fake news from spreading and for preventing users from abusing the platforms. “We are open to meaningful regulation and support the committee’s recommendation for electoral law reform,” Reuters quoted Palant as saying. Facebook is “not the same company” even a year ago, with the social media giant already instituting a lot of changes, the executive noted.
The comments from Palant come on the heels of reporting by The Wall Street Journal that the company could pay a multi-billion dollar fine to the Federal Trade Commission to settle an inquiry by the regulator into its privacy practices. An exact amount hadn’t been agreed upon as of last week, but the fine is expected to be the largest to ever be imposed by the FTC on a technology company. Google in 2012 paid $22.5 million to the FTC to settle an inquiry into how it handles data.
In addition to the inquiry by the FTC, Facebook is facing increased scrutiny by regulators around the globe and calls for more regulation of it and other large tech companies. It has also prompted a backlash among some customers who have vowed to never use Facebook again. But despite the backlash, Facebook was still able to report a strong showing for the fourth quarter, the last three months of 2018. Its daily active user based increased 9 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2018 and reached 1.52 billion on average in December. Monthly active users also increased 9 percent during Q4, hitting 2.32 billion. All told, Facebook said about 2.7 billion people now use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger each month, and more than 2 billion people use at least one of its services every day, on average.