United States v. Facebook, Inc.

Case No. 19-CV-2184 (July 24, 2019)

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United States v. Facebook, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Case No. 19-CV-2184 (July 24, 2019)

  • Written by Rose VanHofwegen, JD
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Facts

In 2012 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (plaintiff) filed an administrative complaint alleging Facebook, Inc. (defendant) had misrepresented how much it shared private user information with third parties and whether users controlled that sharing. Facebook agreed to a consent order prohibiting it from continuing to misrepresent its privacy practices and requiring it to implement a reasonable privacy-protection program. But in 2018, news surfaced that the political-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had used a personality quiz to collect personal data from millions of Facebook users. Third parties, including Donald Trump’s campaign, used that data to develop targeted messaging to influence U.S. voters. The FTC reopened its investigation and filed a second complaint, alleging Facebook continued to misrepresent whether it sold private user data to third-party developers. Facebook also allegedly engaged in other deceptive practices, such as encouraging users to provide personal information to use its security features without disclosing that this information would be used for advertising. Developers could mine personal information about not only individual users, but also their Facebook friends. In 2019 the FTC announced a settlement resolving the allegations. Facebook agreed to new privacy and disclosure protocols, including creating a new board of directors focused solely on privacy concerns and ongoing monitoring. Facebook chairman Mark Zuckerberg must file quarterly and annual statements certifying compliance. Finally, Facebook agreed to a $5 billion fine.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning ()

Dissent (Slaughter, Comm’r)

Dissent (Chopra, Comm’r)

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