Facebook to pay $7b fine after US probe into privacy, Latest Business News - The New Paper

Facebook to pay $7b fine after US probe into privacy

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WASHINGTON: Facebook will pay a record-breaking US$5 billion (S$7 billion) fine to resolve a government probe into its privacy practices and the social media giant will restructure its approach to privacy, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said yesterday.

The FTC voted three to two along party lines to adopt the settlement, which requires court approval, even as Democrats said the settlement did not go far enough or require a large enough fine.

"Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that it could control how personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers' choices," said FTC chairman Joe Simons, a Republican, in a statement.

But Democratic FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra said the penalty provided "blanket immunity" for Facebook executives "and no real restraints on Facebook's business model" and does "not fix the core problems that led to these violations".

Facebook declined to comment ahead of the settlement's public release.

The FTC said that Facebook's data policy was deceptive to "tens of millions" of people who used Facebook's facial recognition tool and also violated its rules against deceptive practices when it did not disclose phone numbers collected to enable a security feature would be used for advertising.

Under the settlement, Facebook's board will create an independent privacy committee that removes "unfettered control by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg over decisions affecting user privacy".

Facebook also agreed to exercise greater oversight over third-party apps. It also is barred from asking for e-mail passwords to other services when consumers sign up.

Facebook is barred from using telephone numbers obtained in a security feature, like two-factor authentication, for advertising and must get user consent if it plans to use data from facial recognition technology. - REUTERS