The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should find Facebook in violation of its 2011
settlement agreement and hold company CEO Mark Zuckerberg accountable for violating
consumers’ privacy, according to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Calling Zuckerberg, the “public face” of the social media giant, Wyden wrote in a letter
to the commission, that he should be found “individually liable for the company’s repeated violations of Americans’ privacy.”
The FTC has been scrutinizing Facebook after a string of incidents called into question the company’s privacy policies and data collection and sharing practices. The agency indicated recently that it might be open to reaching a settlement with Facebook.
“Given Mr. Zuckerberg’s deceptive statements, his personal control over Facebook, and his role in approving key decisions related to the sharing of user data, the FTC can and must hold Mr. Zuckerberg personally responsible for these continued violations,” said Wyden, urging the agency to use the threat of heavy fines as leverage against Zuckerberg and the company.
“The FTC must also make clear the significant and material penalties that will apply to both Facebook the corporate and Mr. Zuckerberg the individual should any future violations occur,” he wrote.
Recently, reports noted that Zuckerberg leveraged user data as a bargaining chip to fend off competitors and considered selling access to friendly companies, giving privacy short shrift along the way, according to 4,000 pages of leaked documents from 2011-2015 that show the Facebook founder was bent on building a powerhouse social media that had a firm control over user data.
And the company again stoked controversy in mid-April after it reportedly owned up to "unintentionally" collecting the email contacts of 1.5 million users without their consent.
That latest data mismanagement gaffe occurred after Facebook’s staff members created a fake account and entered an email password for verification purposes. At that point, a message appeared indicating that company was importing the user's email contacts, without ever asking for permission.