On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Facebook has agreed to pay a $5 billion fine over privacy violations. The fine is also because of Facebook failure to inform billions of users about a data leak that happened years ago.
This fine is the largest the US regulator has imposed on any tech company in history. The settlement requires Facebook CEO and other compliance officers to acknowledge and certify that Facebook will take all necessary steps to protect its user privacy. The announcement also requests to create an independent privacy committee that will operate separate of company’s existing board of directors.
“Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons.
“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.” He further stated.
This multi-billion dollar file is the first such punishment Facebook has received because of privacy concerns and security scandals surrounding the company for over a year. The issue ranged from the inability to stop fake news to inability to take proper security measures to protect its user data.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement on Wednesday that the social network would make “major structural changes” in a way it conducts its business.
“We have a responsibility to protect people’s privacy,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We already work hard to live up to this responsibility, but now we’re going to set a completely new standard for our industry.” Says Mark Zuckerberg.
According to a report from Washington post, the FTC considered a higher fine. There was discussion to make Facebook CEO personally accountable for the privacy oversights.