In 2011, the US Federal Trade Commission put Facebook under consent decree after the company "deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly [allowed] it to be shared and made public."
The way the FTC generally works is that if it catches a company doing something terrible, it issues one of these "consent decrees" which amount to, "don't do it again, or we'll take the company away."
But Facebook did it again. Hard. And rather than shutting Facebook down, the FTC fined them $5B, which may sound like a lot, it's only about 30% of the revenue from a single quarter and less than a quarter of the company's annual profits. It's basically a license fee for criminality, a tax on lawbreaking that allows the company to retain the vast majority of its profits from criminal activities.
And the street knows it. After the FTC announced the fine, Facebook's share price went up.
And as Peter Kafka notes, regulatory compliance costs aren’t exactly a deterrent either: Facebook will pay the fine, eat the cost of a few more lawyers and PR people to ensure compliance with this new order, and carry on with the business of, uh, issuing a new worldwide currency while exposing underpaid contractors to horrifying videos of people being murdered for $15 an hour.
Facebook’s $5 billion FTC fine is an embarrassing joke [Nilay Patel/The Verge]
(Image: Jason McELweenie, CC-BY, modified)
In the wake of Berkeley joining the growing list of cities that ban the use of facial recognition by governments, RIT philosophy prof Evan Selinger and Northeastern law/comp sci prof Woodrow Hartzog make the case in the New York Times for a nationwide ban on facial recognition technology.
Beware the rogue .wav file.
Do Not Track was a standardized way for browsers to tell services that their owners did not consent to having their activities and usage logged; however, it was subverted by Big Tech and big media companies and turned into a useless tick-box that had virtually no impact on your privacy.
Treat yourself, internet: We’ve rounded up some deals from the past week that were too good not to bring back for an encore. Take your pick from home goods, massagers and other tech, all at serious discounts. TREBLAB Z2 Bluetooth 5.0 Noise-Cancelling Headphones Get in the groove and stay that way with these headphones and […]
As cool as your smartphone is, it can’t do everything. When a job requires a little elbow grease, a multitool is a great thing to have around – and might just save your life in the right situation. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest multitool designs, which have come a long way since […]
Whether you own or rent your place, insurance on that home is a necessary hassle – but a new tech-driven company called Lemonade is starting to show that while it might indeed be a necessity, it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here’s the way insurance typically works: You pay premiums and hope an accident […]