Facebook: positive Q2 results despite FTC fine

27 Juillet, 2019, 00:29 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Facebook: positive Q2 results despite FTC fine

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will have to be responsible for, and personally appear before, the federal regulators to settle its current privacy case filed by the commission.

Some experts had thought the FTC might fine Zuckerberg directly or seriously limit his authority over the company.

FTC Chairman Joseph Simons said in a statement, "The magnitude of the $5 billion penalty and sweeping conduct relief are unprecedented in the history of the FTC". The platform will be built out over the next five years, Zuckerberg said.

Yale Privacy Lab researcher Sean O'Brien said FTC's limited penalties will enable Facebook to publicly say it is changing course while maintaining an illusion of privacy.

For more than a year, Facebook has been in constant crisis over leaks of users' data, the spread of violent or false content on its apps, and scrutiny of its power to influence public discourse.

Facebook survived its latest brush with US privacy regulators, at the cost of a record $5 billion fine and other restrictions imposed by the Federal Trade Commission. This is also going to be applicable to Facebook Groups as well, for which the company is said to be reaching out to the administrators.

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Only after March 2018, when the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal broke, did Facebook begin a "massive cultural shift" to enforce its own publicly stated policies created to protect user privacy, the complaint said. The SEC said Facebook presented misuse of data as a hypothetical for two years even though it knew the third-party developer had actually misused user data. The volume was so great, according to the complaint, that it led one Facebook employee to comment, "I must admit, I was surprised to find out that we are giving out a lot here for no obvious reason". When the company disclosed the incident in March 2018 its stock price dropped.

Stretch said Facebook's handling of the Cambridge Analytica affair was "a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who depend on us to protect their data". "In June 2019, we were informed by the FTC that it had opened an antitrust investigation of our company", explained Facebook's earnings release. It's for violating user privacy, but why won't users see any of the cash? This isn't it: the FTC is not letting Facebook go by just giving out some money, it has asked Facebook to come up with better privacy policies and a streamlined body of people looking after the stability of the privacy practices followed by Facebook. This was the beginning of a longstanding Facebook FTC battle.

The new system of corporate and external checks and balances also requires Facebook to offer protections for biometric data including opt-in consent for facial recognition. To pre-empt this and do things on its own terms, Williamson said the company is "going to do whatever it can" to change its business model and the way it gathers data. "Nor does it include any restrictions on the company's mass surveillance or advertising tactics".

Members of the privacy committee will be independent and appointed by an independent nominating committee.

In addition to the civil penalty, Facebook also made a deal with the FTC that a privacy oversight committee will be formed, made up of independent members who can not be fired by Zuckerberg alone. First, there may yet be more pressure from new global regulations, such as Europe's new rules governing data collection.

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