Monday, July 15, 2019

Facebook Pays U.S Govt $5Billion To Bury Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Cambridge Analytica scandal forces Facebook to pay u.s govt $5billion fine

Facebook pays $5 billion to U.S Govt for selling users data

The United States Federal Trade Commission has approved a $5 Billion fine incurred by social media giant, Facebook, for selling users information. First and foremost, what you and I need to know is the pioneers of extensive internet usage, the military, stated before its handover to the public, that the Internet isn't private and what this translates to is that whatever information you put up online isn't safe. On the other hand, what if you were being dangled a fish in the face and Facebook smiled to the bank with data you were deceived to give up?

Following a probe in March 2018 where Facebook was dragged into murky waters over an involvement with a private company, called Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by President Donald Trump's campaign organization to gather users data. Further down the line of investigations, it was ascertained that Facebook indirectly sold users information against its privacy policy which states otherwise.

U.S Govt buried Cambridge Analytica Scandal as Facebook settles $5Billion

Facebook's $5 Billion Settlement to the U.S Government is for the burying of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Chairing this decision was a 3-member-team, whose identity was concealed. The decision was taken through vote casting. 2 out of 3 voted for an amicable resolution through the payment of a fine by Facebook, while the other member of the team voted for more charges to be pressed and for Facebook to face a more stringent penalty, preferably non-financial.

Earning more than $56 billion in 2018 alone, it will interest you to know that several U.S lawmakers have protested against the $5 billion fine, saying a higher and more appropriate amount would have been levied on the social media giant.

Speaking on the approved settlement, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, had the following to say: "This reported $5 billion penalties is barely a tap on the wrist, not even a slap. Such a financial punishment for purposeful, blatant illegality is chump change for a company that makes tens of billions of dollars every year,” Blumenthal concluded.

Interestingly from its 2018 profit, Facebook had already set aside $3 Billion to follow up the Cambridge Analytica scandal in whichever direction it took, luckily enough, a settlement was agreed.
Reeling from crisis to crisis, Facebook has been caught in a series of mishaps over selling users data. This settlement comes as the most remarkable punishment meted out on Facebook by the Government for selling users information, and a landmark social media related case in the history of the U.S Federal Trade Commission.

Profit vs privacy as Facebook sells our data


Directly in the eye of the storm, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who controls 58% of the company, is the main authority when it comes to the company's privacy policy. Zuckerberg only consults with Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, on the company's privacy policy when necessary.

Speaking for public interest groups like NetChoice, the Open Market's Institute, Public Citizen, Public Knowledge etc., President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Marc Rotenberg, had  the following to say: "Something has to be done to strengthen the data protection practices of that company, its deceptive practices is getting out of hand." In 2011, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a lawsuit against Facebook which forced the U.S Federal Trade Commission to make Facebook sign a consent decree, to desist from selling users data and other deceptive practices.

Quite a controversial one, the FTC's resolution is the first in a long line of litigations against Facebook on the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The United States Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have equally opened investigations into the same case.

Other landmark FTC cases include Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., which paid a massive $22.5 Billion for misleading Apple's Safari browser users over the same privacy issues. A more recent case, saw Volkswagen AG, in 2016, pay a whooping $10 Billion for deceptive advertising, where Volkswagen AG claimed its diesel engine models were carbon emission-free.

Also under fire is Facebook's acquisition of photo and video sharing website, Instagram, and popular messaging app, WhatsApp.



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