In a letter to the agency, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) called a potential $5 billion fine a “bargain for Facebook,” adding that the social media giant’s top executives, including Mark Zuckerberg, should be held personally responsible for the lack of data privacy for the site’s users. While the FTC is also reportedly considering a settlement that boosts oversight of data privacy to Facebook’s board of directors, and requires the company to be take charge in regulating third-party app developers, the Senators don’t think that is enough.
“It should consider setting rules of the road on what Facebook can do with consumers’ private information, such as requiring the deletion of tracking data, restricting the collection of certain types of information, curbing advertising practices and imposing a firewall on sharing private data between different products,” they wrote in a letter to FTC Chairman Joe Simons, according to Reuters.
The two senators also requested that the FTC name any Facebook officials associated with the violation of a consent decree. “Personal responsibility must be recognized from the top of the corporate board down to the product development teams,” they wrote.
A number of lawmakers are siding with Blumenthal and Hawley. Representative David Cicilline tweeted in April that a multi-billion dollar fine was a “slap on the wrist” for the company. “Facebook is a repeat offender, and it is critical that the [FTC’s] response is strong enough to prevent future violations,” he wrote.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) believes Zuckerberg also needs to be held responsible for his company’s actions. “Mr. Zuckerberg is not merely the CEO of Facebook, but he also controls a majority of the voting rights in the company. This control insulates him from accountability for Facebook’s board and shareholders,” wrote Wyden in a letter written last month.