Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission announced a broad investigation of Facebook, saying they have “substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook.” In a letter to Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, a group of state attorneys general demanded specific answers about how companies like Cambridge Analytica accessed the information of Facebook users without those users’ permission.
The moves by the FTC and 37 state attorneys general are in addition to the three congressional committees that have already called Zuckerberg to testify next month about the user-data breach.
Facebook has also been sued by Cook County, Illinois, whose state attorney says Facebook violated Illinois’ fraud law. One Facebook user is suing them for violation of user privacy. A shareholder is suing because of the steep drop in stock price after the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal was revealed. This could just be the tip of the legal trouble iceberg for Facebook.
Does this mean no Zuckerberg 2020 presidential campaign?
Because of all the negative headlines, and Zuckerberg’s late effort to answer questions about the Cambridge Analytica mess, Facebook stock lost $75 billion in market value last week. Forbes reported that the personal net worth of Zuckerberg dropped by $5 billion. So, does this mean no Zuckerberg 2020 presidential campaign?
Is Facebook really any worse than the other tech giants in how it handles user data? Probably not. All the tech giants may have been cutting class to smoke behind the gym, but Facebook got busted first and is the one getting hauled into the principal’s office. Regardless, they’ve got a lot of explaining and fixing to do.
Late last week, #DeleteFacebook was trending on Twitter, and some wondered if this is the beginning of the end for the world’s largest social networking platform. The company is definitely black and blue, but it’s probably too soon to sound the death knell. It will apologize, tweak its user policies, vow to do a better job protecting your data, and then your crazy uncle can get back to posting those cat memes with confidence.