What you need to know
- Facebook faces a record-setting 5 billion dollar fine in a decision from the FTC.
- It will also be required to improve its privacy protection for users.
- The settlement still needs to be approved by the DOJ before it becomes final.
This week, the FTC voted to approve a record-setting 5 billion dollar fine against Facebook. The fine comes in response to several privacy violations, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, serving ads via phone numbers provided for security, and lying about its facial recognition software being turned on by default.
Along with the massive fine, Facebook is also being required to amp up its privacy protection for users. In a blog post from Facebook, it details how the new system will work going forward.
It will include more monitoring of what third-party apps are doing with your information, as well as detailed quarterly reports signed by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to verify compliance with the settlement.
There will also be independent oversight with a board dedicated to privacy with assessments sent directly to the FTC.
While the settlement was approved by the FTC with three votes in favor from Republicans and two votes against by Democrats, it still must be approved by the DOJ. However, the Department of Justice has a history of approving the settlements.
The two Democrats who voted against the measure did so because they felt it didn't go far enough. There had been talks of expanding the punishment to include executives such as Zuckerberg to hold them personally responsible.
However, Facebook strongly resisted holding Zuckerberg accountable and had the company walk away from what would have likely been a long and grueling trial.
If the settlement is approved, Facebook will end up paying a record-setting fine, which according to critics such as David Cicilline (a Democratic Rep. from Rhode Island) is little more than a "slap on the wrist" compared to its yearly profits.