One year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the Federal Trade Commission of the United States, better known by its initials, FTC, has been investigating Facebook to fine it for violating the privacy of its users.
“Facebook has avoided at all costs to include Zuckerberg in the negotiations with the FTC so that no individual charges are applied against him.”
The process, which has involved almost 13 months of research, has resulted in a strenuous negotiation between Facebook and the FTC. The entities have been in talks to define how much money will fine the social network and, likewise, what will be the internal restructuring of Facebook to guarantee the privacy of its users.
At the moment, there is no conclusive order from the FTC. However, Facebook has already announced in its latest communication of quarterly results, which expects a fine of up to 5,000 million dollars, an amount that has already been deducted from its annual profits.
Should it become a reality, the $ 5.00 million fine would become the largest fine the US government has ever imposed on a technology company in history.
However, as we mentioned earlier, the economic factor will not be the only consequence. The FTC has requested that Facebook restructure its governing bodies to guarantee privacy in the social network.
That is why the company has proposed the creation of a corporate organization chart that revolves around privacy. The company promises the creation of an independent committee that would meet quarterly to discuss privacy issues exclusively. In addition, said committee would count with the participation of other members of the company.
Coupled with this, the FTC and the Facebook privacy committee will be responsible for appointing a person to serve as independent advisor. This advisor would be responsible for ensuring compliance with the rules imposed by the FTC, as well as the privacy policies of the social network. Finally, the consultant would also have to issue reports twice a year commenting on the situation of the company.
In addition to the creation of the privacy committee and the independent advisor, Facebook will also create the figure of a guard who is responsible for monitoring compliance with the regulations imposed by the FTC within the company.
Despite the suggested reforms and the forecasts made by Facebook, the truth is that the negotiations have not yet been completed and it is very difficult to know what the real result will be.
In the United States, the process has generated great controversy. Multiple politicians and defenders of the right to privacy have pointed out the lightness of the measures taken by the FTC, comparing them frequently with the strict regulations of the European Union.
In fact, some government personalities have pointed out the little individual responsibility that has been attributed to Mark Zuckerberg for allowing data leaks.
However, the company has avoided at all costs to include Zuckerberg in the negotiations so that no individual charges are applied against him. Even the company has suggested to its CEO to assume the position of warden with the treaty with the FTC, which could be seen as an act of conciliation.
In any case, it is still difficult to know until the negotiations between the institutions continue and if the proposed restructuring will remain the same. However, it is possible to say that the result of these negotiations will set a future precedent for the regulation of other technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Twitter.