FTC To Hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Liable For Any Future Privacy Violations

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will have to personally answer to federal regulators under an agreement to settle a privacy case with the Federal Trade Commission that includes a $5 billion penalty for the giant social media company, the agency announced Wednesday. From a report: Separately, Facebook will pay $100 million to settle a case with the Securities and Exchange Commission for making misleading disclosures about the risk that users’ data would be misused, the SEC said. Under the FTC agreement, Zuckerberg will be required to submit quarterly compliance reports directly to the federal regulators and to Facebook’s board of directors. If the Facebook co-founder or “designated compliance officers” violate the agreement, they could be subject to civil and criminal penalties, the FTC said.

“There’s no way that the CEO can bury his head in the sand,” James Kohm, head of the FTC’s enforcement unit, told NPR. “There’s no ostrich defense.” According to FTC investigators, Facebook violated the terms of its 2011 settlement with the agency, in which it promised to protect user data from broad sharing with third-party apps. The company also committed new violations, they said. Kohm described two major incidents in which Facebook effectively lied to users. First, the company solicited phone numbers, saying they were being collected to verify users’ identity if a password needed to be reset. Millions of people trusted the company, and then Facebook took those phone numbers and used them not just for security, but also for advertising purposes, the FTC said.

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