The number of Facebook users is over 185 million people in the United States and Canada that regularly use this platform. Facebook earns money via targeted advertising, which created most of the company’s $55.8 billion income in 2018. In order to incentivize consumers to share information on its platform, Facebook pledges consumers they can protect the privacy of their information via Facebook’s privacy settings. In this post, we want to examine the FTC fine against Facebook. What was the FTC fine against Facebook?
Facebook is obliged to pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine and accept new limitations and a changed corporate structure that assigns the company the responsibility in regard to the decisions it makes about its consumers’ privacy to resolve Federal Trade Commission allegations that the company breached a 2012 FTC order by misleading users about their ability to protect the privacy of their personal information. The $5 billion fine against Facebook is the largest penalty that is foisted on any company for breaching users’ privacy. It is one of the largest punishments that the U.S government has ever evaluated for violation.
The details of the allegations of FTC against Facebook
The compromise order also foists extraordinary new limitations on Facebook’s business activities and makes numerous channels of acquiescence. The order forces Facebook to reorganize its attitude to privacy from the corporate board level down and set up robust new strategies to guarantee that Facebook managers are responsible for their privacy decisions and that those decisions are under exact supervision.
After a comprehensive investigation by the FTC, the Department of Justice claimed that Facebook constantly utilized misleading revelations and settings to compromise users’ privacy wants in breach of its 2012 FTC order. These strategies enabled the company to give consumers’ personal information to third-party apps. The FTC claims that many users didn’t know that Facebook was revealing such information and hence did not take the necessary steps to prevent sharing. Furthermore, the FTC claims that Facebook did not take the required steps to prevent apps that it was aware that they were breaching its platform policies.
The settlement originates from claimed breaches of the FTC’s 2012 agreement order with Facebook. Among other issues, the 2012 order prevented Facebook from making misleading statements about the privacy or security of users’ personal information and the degree to which it reveals personal information, like names and dates of birth, with third parties. It also forced Facebook to retain a logical privacy program that protects the privacy and secrecy of consumer information.
The FTC claims that Facebook breached the 2012 order by misleading its consumers when the company gave the personal information of consumers’ Facebook friends to third-party app developers, even when those friends had established more limiting privacy settings. In May 2012, Facebook attached a disclosure to its main “Privacy Settings” page that made it possible for apps that friends used to have access to the shared information. The FTC claims that four months after the finalization of the 2012 order in August 2012, Facebook eliminated this disclosure from the main “Privacy Settings” page, although third-party developers still had access to information from an app user’s Facebook friends.
Furthermore, Facebook initiated different services like “Privacy Shortcuts” in late 2012 and “Privacy Checkup” in 2014 that aimed to contribute to helping consumers to control their privacy settings better. These services were still unsuccessful in disclosing that even when consumers selected the most limiting sharing settings, Facebook could still share your data with other users. Unless they also decided to go to “the Apps Settings Page” and chose not to participate in such sharing. The FTC claims the company refused to state on the Privacy Settings page or the “About” part of the profile page that Facebook could still give access to third-party developers on the Facebook platform about an app consumer’s Facebook friends.
Facebook declared in April 2014 that it would prevent letting third-party developers gain information about app users’ friends. In spite of this commitment, the company individually informed developers that they could gather this information until April 2015, provided that they already had an in-place app on the platform. The FTC claims that Facebook did not take action until at least June 2018 to prevent sharing consumer data with third-party apps that their Facebook friends used.
Besides, the complaint claims that Facebook incorrectly supervised app developers on its platform. The FTC claims that, as an overall practice, Facebook did not supervise the developers or their apps before giving them access to huge amounts of consumer information. Rather than that, Facebook apparently just forced developers to agree to Facebook’s conditions and terms when they finalized the registration of their app with the Facebook Platform.
The company pretended to depend on administering outcomes for policy breaches that consequently captivated its attention after developers had already gotten information about Facebook users. The complaint claims, however, that Facebook did not implement such policies continuously and usually based the implementation of its policies on whether Facebook took financial advantage of its agreements with the developer and that this practice breached the 2012 order’s requirement to retain a logical privacy program.
Federal Trade Commission imposed one of the largest penalties in history on Facebook due to the violation of its 2012 order. It also imposed highly restrictive limitations on Facebook in order to force this company to protect the personal information of its users seriously since it is one of the most important commitments and promises of this company that is obliged to fulfill it completely and sincerely.