On Friday, US regulators welcomed a “historic” $5 billion settlement with Facebook over data privacy as the social network said it was already implementing the provisions of the deal.
The deal between Facebook and the US Federal Trade Commission became official with the approval Thursday of a federal judge.
Along with the fine, the settlement announced last July requires Facebook to ramp up privacy protections; provide detailed quarterly reports on compliance with the deal, and have an independent oversight board.
Some privacy activists had challenged the deal claiming it let off Facebook too easy after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that allowed the hijacking of personal data of millions of users ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.
Joe Simons, the FTC Chairman mentioned in a statement that he was “pleased” with the court approval, pointing out it was the largest monetary penalty ever obtained by the consumer protection agency.
Simons also said that “At the same time, the court also highlights that the conduct relief included in this settlement will require Facebook ‘to consider privacy at every stage of its operations and provide substantially more transparency and accountability for its executives’ privacy-related decisions.”
Facebook chief privacy officer, Michel Protti, mentioned in a blog post that the agreement goes beyond measures required by US law and should “serve as a roadmap for more comprehensive privacy regulation. We hope this leads to further progress on developing consistent legislation in the US and elsewhere. Ultimately, our goal is to honor people’s privacy and focus on doing what’s right for people.”
The FTC reopened its investigation of Facebook’s data handling following revelations of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and other missteps by the California giant.
The company has created dozens of teams devoted to privacy and has thousands of people working on privacy-related projects, according to Protti.
Protti also said that “This agreement has been a catalyst for changing the culture of our company.”