Facebook has been fined USD 5 Bn by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the U.S. This comes after the social media giant was found guilty of numerous privacy violations among the top being sharing user data with Cambridge Analytica that left 87 million Facebook users affected.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also reported that Facebook had agreed to pay an additional 100 million dollars as a fine for misleading investors on the extent of the company’s misuse of user data.
The settlement was not only in the form of a fine but the FTC also laid out guidelines that Facebook was meant to implement, including:
Coming up with a new privacy structure at Facebook
Implementing new tools that would enable the FTC to monitor Facebook’s practices
The compulsory signing of quarterly certifications by Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives attesting to privacy practices, failure to which could lead to civil and criminal penalties
Facebook will be required to create an independent privacy committee that will limit Mark Zuckerberg’s control over decisions affecting user privacy
Facebook will exercise greater oversight over third-party services that rely on Facebook data
Facebook is prohibited from asking for email passwords to other services when consumers sign up
The company is also barred from using two-factor authentication phone numbers for advertising
Facebook must get user consent to use facial recognition data
Despite these seemingly stringent rules and a hefty fine, some U.S. government officials have expressed their disappointment in the ruling, claiming that the settlement “does nothing to hold executives accountable. It utterly fails to penalize Facebook in any effective way.”
A sentiment that most people will agree with, considering Facebook was already prepared to pay the fine by setting aside the funds beforehand. A monetary fine on Facebook has been termed as a “one time cost” visa vis the huge profits that the company minted over the years through misappropriation of user data.