Senator Urges FTC To Hold Zuckerberg Personally Liable For Facebook’s Failures

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Tuesday urged the Federal Trade Commission to hold Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable for Facebook’s privacy failures, in addition to whatever separate penalty it may levy against the social media company itself.

In a letter to the FTC, the senator made clear from the start he thinks Zuckerberg is to blame for his company’s “repeated violations of Americans’ privacy,” and as a result he should be held “individually liable.”

The FTC opened an investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices last year, prompted by revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm in the U.K. that worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, misused data harvested from 50 million Facebook accounts.

Those practices likely violated a prior agreement, known as a “consent decree,” the FTC negotiated with Facebook back in 2011 ― also for deceiving users about its privacy policy.

Sources at the FTC told The Washington Post this latest fine could stretch “into the billions of dollars.” 

And Sen. Wyden wants to make sure whatever new agreement the FTC may reach includes a clause for Zuckerberg, too, whom he sees as indistinguishable from the company itself.

“Any settlement with Facebook must hold Mr. Zuckerberg individually accountable or his flagrant, repeated violations of Americans’ privacy will continue,” the senator wrote.

“Given Mr. Zuckerberg’s deceptive statements, his personal control over Facebook, and his role in approving key decisions related to the sharing of user data, the FTC can and must hold Mr. Zuckerberg personally responsible for these continued violations.”

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