WASHINGTON, BALIPOST.com – US regulators on Wednesday slapped Facebook with a record $5 billion fine for data protection violations in a wide-ranging settlement that calls for revamping privacy controls and oversight at the social network.
The Federal Trade Commission said the penalty was the largest ever imposed on any company for violating consumers’ privacy and one of the largest penalties ever assessed by the US government for any violation.
However, two Democratic members of the five-member FTC dissented, arguing the agreement failed to go far enough to rein in Facebook business practices that endanger consumers.
As part of the deal, Facebook will be required to create a privacy committee within its board of directors to be appointed by an independent nominating committee.
This would end “unfettered control” of decisions on privacy by Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, the FTC statement said.
FTC Chairman Joe Simons said the penalty was appropriate to address concerns over Facebook’s misuse of personal information.
“The magnitude of the $5 billion penalty and sweeping conduct relief are unprecedented in the history of the FTC,” Simons said in a statement after the agency voted 3-2 along party lines to approve the settlement.
“The relief is designed not only to punish future violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations.”
Under the agreement, Facebook’s CEO and staff must submit to FTC regular certifications that the company is in compliance with the privacy program.
Facebook also will be required to conduct a privacy review of every new or modified product, service or practice before it is implemented, including for its WhatsApp and Instagram services.
“We’ve agreed to pay a historic fine, but even more important, we’re going to make some major structural changes to how we build products and run this company,” Zuckerberg said in a statement. (AFP)