Facebook’s $5B privacy violation settlement

Glenn W. Peterson

For many California residents, the internet is an essential part of their everyday lives. A computer and online access can be necessary to conduct business and do a person’s job and can also facilitate many aspects of one’s personal life such as travel, hobbies and interpersonal connections and relationships. The ubiquity of the internet cannot be denied any longer yet that also means that the concerns about personal privacy online only continue to grow.

The companies that create and build the platforms via which people interact online are supposed to factor privacy controls into their product development. They have a responsibility to respect the data that is shared with them and to uphold the laws that govern online privacy. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Data breaches and sloppy business practices instead have become too common.

One of the behemoths in this space, Facebook, has been plagued with repeated privacy violation assertions for some time now. Just recently, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it would levy its largest fine to date on the company due to these violations. As such, Facebook will be paying $5 billion in compensation and will also be subject to a new committee designed to provide more oversight and accountability in these matters.

The company had been accused of multiple offenses including breaking the laws that govern the use of user data supposedly collected for account authentication purposes as well as violating a previous agreement that it had entered with the FTC regarding other online violations.