Facebook Ordered to Pay Penalty

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have announced a settlement that requires Facebook to develop an extensive set of compliance measures designed to increase user privacy and provide extra protections for user information.

The settlement also requires Facebook to pay an unheard-of $5 billion civil penalty – the highest ever enforced in a FTC case and among the top civil penalties ever enforced by the federal government.

A complaint was filed stating that Facebook disregarded an administrative order that the FTC issued in 2012. Users were misled on how much access third-party application developers could have to their personal information.

The complaint also claimed that Facebook violated the FTC Act by misguiding users about additional sensitive data.

Facebook has enjoyed more than a decade of unfettered growth as Silicon Valley’s golden child, trusted to regulate itself and keep its 2.4 billion users’ interests at heart.

“Despite repeated promises to its millions of world-wide users that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook took steps to undermine consumers’ choices,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons.

“The magnitude of the $5 billion penalty and sweeping conduct relief are unprecedented in the history of the FTC. The relief is designed not only to punish previous violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations.  The Commission takes consumer privacy seriously, and will enforce FTC orders to the fullest extent of the law.”