US FTC tells Facebook to create new privacy positions

May 06, 2019, 01:27
US FTC tells Facebook to create new privacy positions

The FTC has been focusing its investigation on the Cambridge Analytica scandal which saw the personal data of 87 million users left vulnerable.

The proposed settlement would also require Facebook to designate a key compliance officer (likely to be the company's CEO and chairman Mark Zuckerberg) who would be responsible for carrying out privacy policies and would be personally accountable for Facebook's handling of the issue, added the source.

The potential agreement between the company and the FTC is in addition to the $3 billion Facebook said it would set aside last week to cover settlements with USA regulators.

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"In the first quarter of 2019, we reasonably estimated a probable loss and recorded an accrual of $3 billion in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into our platform and user data practices", the social networking giant wrote in its earnings statement last month. The FTC has been looking into if Facebook broke its 2011 agreement promising to protect consumer privacy.

Facebook said it would face a fine of up to $5 billion since the result of an evaluation.

This position would be filled by a party outside of the firm that both Facebook and the FTC agree upon.

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Facebook didn't disclose any other details about the FTC settlement, including whether it would impose restrictions on the company's business practices.

"Facebook's refusal to behave responsibly is deeply troubling given that the vast amount of sensitive information individuals have entrusted to this company", Therrien said. Even if Facebook were to stop all such future breaches, which is the best it can now do, the existence of past leaked data and databases still poses a concern.

Stoller's group along with other watchdogs requested the FTC force significant structural changes within the company including liberating WhatsApp and Instagram from the Facebook umbrella. That consent decree prohibits Facebook from misrepresenting its privacy practices, and from misrepresenting the extent to which it makes users' information available to third parties.

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It appears that the FTC envisions this official to have a similar role as the privacy committee's.

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