While Mueller Testifies, Facebook Just Settled With FTC For $5 Billion Over Misleading Users

Mark Zuckerberg hacked emails
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 11: Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg appears for a hearing with the House Energy and Commerce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Whoever thinks this settlement is a huge win can’t be taken seriously, ever.

Facebook has chosen to settle with the Federal Trade Commission rather than appearing in court and going through a case that could have been ugly. Mark Zuckerberg’s company will be paying $5 billion and walking away, but my message to the FTC is that settling isn’t winning,

Taking it to the court would have established important precedents, too. Facebook chose to find the largest amount to get them off the hook, for now.

You are asking me for more clarity? Ok, let me see if I can make it plain. This huge settlement by Facebook is that this changes nothing.  It’s just government taking their share of the profits for helping Facebook invade privacy.

Zuckerberg and colleagues committed alleged FRAUD and should have faced criminal prosecution instead of paying a fine which to him is the equivalent of a slap on the wrist!  And where does that “payoff” money go, and how is to be used?

The U.S. government on Wednesday issued an unprecedented rebuke of Facebook after a year of massive privacy mishaps, charging the company deceived its users and “undermined” choices they made to protect their data as part of a settlement that requires the tech giant to pay $5 billion and submit to significant federal oversight of its business practices.

READ: Cher Calls Out Google and Facebook – Pledges to Dump Their Services

Sixteen months after opening its investigation, the Federal Trade Commission alleged that Facebook had repeatedly misled its 2.2 billion users. The agency argued that the social-networking company was not upfront about the ways app developers, advertisers and others gained access to users’ personal data — from the content they “liked” to the phone numbers they stored — in breach of Facebook’s previous promise to improve its privacy protections online.

As a result, the settlement between the FTC and Facebook includes the largest fine in U.S. history for a privacy violation, and it grants federal regulators unparalleled access to the social-networking giant’s business decisions for the next two decades — allowing regulators to scrutinize the actions of Facebook’s leaders, including chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, and its efforts to launch new products and services. [WaPo]

 

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“Stunning rebuke” to Facebook, from Uncle Sam: ‘Um, Mark, would you please maybe, you know, kind of try harder to pretend that you’re not misusing people’s private data, except when uncle Vladimir calls?’

“Massive, $5 billion fine:” this is the equivalent of a 50-cent upcharge for unlimited refills of a soda.

In other words, a neat little show for the masses and a clear signal to all the FAANG companies: no more pesky laws, boys. Whatever you want to do, go for it.

They could start by informing people when they have not set up privacy settings, meaning they are using the default settings. Most older people and kids don’t know about that so they are showing their pictures to people who are not their friends.

They should also be required to follow the new European rules of opt-out by default instead of opt-in by default.

And string any kind of geolocation information from uploaded photos.

Nothing will change.   What could be an incredible worldwide asset is merely a monetary scheme using the data its users provide. Quite a conundrum for those who truly want to share about themselves with those they love and like. Greed seems to infiltrate everything at every level. I’d like to be part of it but have decided that the risk outweighs the benefits. Others clearly make the opposite decision and hopefully with no ill consequences.

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Wayne is a freelance writer who was named the 2015 American Conservative Union Blogger of the Year and awarded... More about Wayne Dupree

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