Regulation

Facebook FTC Settlement To Include Board Oversight

FTC Expected To Reveal Details Of $5B Facebook Fine

The Federal Trade Commission will soon announce the details of a settlement with Facebook over privacy violations, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Monday (July 22).

The announcement could come as soon as Wednesday (July 24). The settlement includes a fine of about $5 billion, and it would end a long investigation into the social media giant. Facebook will create a new board committee that will solely exist to focus on privacy, as part of the settlement. 

The FTC voted 3-2 in favor of a settlement with Facebook, and a Republican majority supported it, while the Democratic commissioners objected to it. The case went to the Justice Department’s civil division to be reviewed.

The new committee would make sure that even top executives at Facebook were following privacy protocols, and create oversight for it. The company already has an internal privacy team, and in 2011, it allowed for its privacy practices to be assessed by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In 2011, Facebook and the FTC reached a consent decree in regards to protecting user privacy. The new case was over whether the social media firm violated that decree not. 

“The FTC does not have supervision authority, but there are ways of creating an analog to that,” said David Vladeck, a Georgetown University law professor and former FTC official.

Some say the fact that the FTC is settling means Facebook is getting off easy. Some critics say the FTC has been too lax on online protection in general, and the settlement might help to show that its being serious about the issue.

There’s another announcement expected from the FTC regarding YouTube over children’s privacy violations. The FTC also announced a settlement with Equifax of about $700 million to take care of a 2017 data breach that exposed the info of almost 150 people. 

The FTC has been trying to get more funding from the government for its antitrust and privacy endeavors. Some lawmakers say funding for the organization isn’t enough.

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