USA: Govt. issues $5 billion fine against Facebook for repeated privacy violations

Author: Tony Romm, The Washington Post , Published on: 25 July 2019

"U.S. government issues stunning rebuke, historic $5 billion fine against Facebook for repeated privacy violations"

The U.S. government on Wednesday issued an unprecedented rebuke of Facebook...charging that 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. 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... in a 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...

...The new settlement requires Facebook to establish a special independent committee within its board of directors to oversee privacy. Compliance officers... must keep watch over the tech giant’s approach to data. And those officials, along with Zuckerberg, must attest quarterly to the FTC that they are complying with the settlement or face civil or criminal penalties, agency officials said... [A] third-party organization will be tasked with reviewing Facebook’s data-collection practices and those of its other services, Instagram and WhatsApp, over the next 20 years... Facebook... must obtain explicit permission before deploying facial recognition in new forms.

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Related companies: Facebook Instagram (part of Facebook) Whatsapp (part of Facebook)