Groups call for Facebook to be broken up
A coalition of organizations is planning to ask the Federal Trade Commission to break Facebook in order to restore the 2 billion users and prevent further violations of privacy.
Freedom of Facebook, who has belittled the tech giant’s incorrect use of the data of the user during the Cambridge Analytica scandal, says that the company of Mark Zuckerberg is probably in violation of a 2011 consent decree it signed with the FTC.
The FTC is currently investigating whether the tech behemoth, is in fact in conflict with the 2011 consent decree. If the commission finds that it did, Facebook could face fines in the billions of dollars that would probably bankrupt the company.
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Under the consent decree, Facebook agreed to get permission from users before sharing their data with third parties and the company is obligated to a third-party audits of its privacy practices every two years to certify their effectiveness.
In the case of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, the tech platform could be faced with a fine of $40,000 for each of the 87 million users whose data was handled – adding a few trillion dollars.
Facebook, which also owns WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger is so embedded in every aspect of our lives that it is difficult to imagine being broken. The lawyer of the group claims that Facebook and its subsidiaries for more than three-quarters of the mobile social network traffic in the United States.
“Breaking up is the basis to ensure that the power supply is restored to the American people,” Sarah Miller, a spokesman for the Freedom of Facebook, told Fox News. “We look at this from a perspective of the need for a recovery of power to the people about their relationships, about their privacy.”
In its response to the FTC, the Freedom of Facebook recommends three main remedies: spiders from WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger; the enforcement of interoperability standards, similar to what the FTC imposed on AOL Messenger during the AOL-Time Warner merger settlement in 2001; and the imposition of strict privacy rules.
“Without such structural measures, Facebook—as the company has proven in recent years, as it repeatedly has apologized for the violations without solving the underlying problems of its business model, simply return to the standard operating procedure,” Freedom of Facebook public response reads.
A representative from the tech platform earlier told Fox News she doesn’t believe that Facebook violated a 2011 consent decree, but that the company is the cooperation with the FTC’s probe.
When Zuckerberg was specifically asked on Capitol Hill, by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-SC.) on the question of whether Facebook is a monopoly, the tech college of danced around the question, saying that it “doesn’t feel like that” to him that prompted laughter in the room.
Other lawmakers, including Sen. Ron Wyden, (D. OR.), have floated the idea that Facebook can be broken up for antitrust violations if it is not handle of the budding scandal.
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The FTC’s definition of a monopoly can be found here.
“It is a matter of political will, and we think there is,” says Miller. “We can create the political will, we create that political will. Our democratic institutions need to stand on.”
In addition to the FTC probe, Facebook is facing investigations by both the FBI and the Department of Justice. The tech platform has come under fire, as well as, how her new ad policy negative impact on a range of different groups.
A recent survey by the Knight Foundation and Gallup found a large majority of Americans are concerned about the power of internet companies to “give people a distorted view of the news, the limit of the expression of certain views, and the increase of the influence of the news that the benefits of the internet-company and the preference of views.”
The FTC hearings on competition and the protection of the consumer in the begins in mid-September and ends in December.
Fox News reached Facebook for comment.
Christopher Carbone is a reporter and news editor covering science and technology for FoxNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.