Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

FTC Expected to Hand Facebook the World’s Most Expensive Speeding Ticket

Emily Glazer, Ryan Tracy, and Jeff Horwitz broke the news for the Wall Street Journal:

The Federal Trade Commission has endorsed a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook Inc. over a long-running probe into the tech giant’s privacy missteps, according to people familiar with the matter.

FTC commissioners this past week voted 3-2 in favor of the agreement, with the Republican majority backing the pact while Democratic commissioners objected, the people said. The matter has been moved to the Justice Department’s civil division and it is unclear how long it will take to finalize, one of the people said. Justice Department reviews are part of FTC procedure but typically don’t change the outcome of a decision by the commission.

Cecilia Kang, New York Times:

In addition to the fine, Facebook agreed to more comprehensive oversight of how it handles user data, according to the people. But none of the conditions in the settlement will restrict Facebook’s ability to collect and share data with third parties. And that decision appeared to split the five-member commission. The two Democrats who voted against the deal sought stricter limits on the company, the people said.

Mike Isaac:

[T]he fact that [Facebook] shares surged instead of sank on the FTC news is the story.

This fine is at the upper bound of what Facebook estimated earlier this year, but it’s still pretty weak. The company booked $15 billion in revenue last quarter alone. This is a cost of doing business and, combined with the company’s cynical efforts to redefine “privacy”, will likely have little effect on their ability to exploit users’ behaviour at a global scale.