(TruthandLiberty.com) – For years, Congress and social media activists have investigated Facebook over many allegations. Some opponents have called for stricter regulations and control over the social media industry. In 2019, Facebook agreed to a massive record-breaking $5 billion settlement over privacy issues. At the time, the colossal company submitted restrictions on protecting user privacy and modifying its corporate structure to hold the company accountable. The agreement absolved the company and its top officials from any other consumer-security protections — until now.
Despite the largest ever imposed penalty on any company in US history, it’s questionable if Facebook has learned its lesson. An internal whistleblower recently revealed a treasure trove of new information before Congress and the British parliament. Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating the company based on the thousands of pages of newly discovered documents released by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen. The FTC wants to know if the company violated its 2019 agreement.
Could Facebook Be in Serious Trouble?
In recent months, the public became aware Facebook’s Instagram app was detrimental to the health of girls and young women, who also suffered adverse effects from influencers’ products. One of the papers Haugen leaked showed Facebook knew there was a problem and chose to pursue profits over doing the right thing.
The documents revealed the company’s algorithms created division and discord among users, and Instagram is harmful to many of its users. Initially, Facebook argued Haugen and the public misinterpreted the research, and the company was investing heavily to keep its platforms safe. Yet, on Tuesday, October 27, Facebook said in a regulatory filing in September, it acknowledged it was under investigation over Haugen’s release of internal company documents. According to the Wall Street Journal, company officials were already aware of the “undesirable activity” occurring on the popular platform.
Did Facebook Admit It Didn’t Solve the 2019 Problem?
The statement seems to suggest the company is still not protecting the privacy of its users. Instead, Haugen said the company had sought profits over all else. The documents triggered an avalanche of activity by lawmakers who want to know if the tech giant engaged in deceptive and misleading practices.
The FTC acknowledges it’s been in touch with Haguen’s legal team, and the agency is still investigating Facebook to determine whether it participated in deceptive trade practices. Investigators may be looking at the 2019 settlement to determine if the social media giant had a legal responsibility to warn users about the platform’s risks since the internal documents revealed the company’s awareness of the problem.
If company officials did know and did nothing about it, former FTC Chairman and now George Washington University Law Professor William Kovacic says they could go down for deceptive practices. It’s early in the investigation, but Facebook could be in severe trouble.
Stay tuned to this developing story.
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