Facebook at first argued a proposed FTC fine was ‘extreme’ and ‘unconstitutional’

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Revealed: The Secrets our Clients Used to Earn $3 Billion

The FTC fined Facebook a record-setting $5 billion this year for supposed personal privacy incidents. 


Angela Lang/CNET

When the Federal Trade Commission revealed in July it was fining Facebook a record-setting $5 billion for declared personal privacy incidents, some legislators and advocacy groups argued the charge was a plan on the world’s biggest social media. 

Behind the scenes, Facebook’s attorneys pressed back versus a great at first proposed by the FTC, according to a file the business sent out to the FTC previously this year. 

Months prior to the FTC settled a settlement with the social networks giant, Facebook’s attorneys argued to the firm that the fine was “unconstitutional, unlawful, and unsupported,” a Feb. 28 white paper sent on behalf of the business reveals. Facebook didn’t act in “bad faith,” or make money from its supposed personal privacy incidents and was prepared to show that customers weren’t damaged, the paper specified. 

“No court would entertain such a penalty, and neither will Facebook,” the business’s attorneys composed in the white paper. 

It’s uncertain from the white paper if Facebook, which was represented by the law office Gibson Dunn, was refuting a fine that was $5 billion or much bigger. The quantity of the fine is edited from the white paper, however the business’s attorneys discuss it’s more than the $22.5 million the FTC fined Google as part of a 2012 settlement over tracking users.

“The fine that Staff proposes is excessive, arbitrary, and capricious,” the white paper sent on behalf of Facebook specified.

CNET got in touch with the FTC about the proposed fine’s quantity and the firm decreased to comment. A Facebook representative stated in a declaration that the fine it obtained from the FTC was “unprecedented,” recommending that the business would oppose a bigger quantity.

“It’s the largest fine in the history of the Federal Trade Commission and exceeds what the FTC would have been able to obtain in court, as experts have said,” a Facebook representative stated. “For people who use Facebook, the most important parts of this agreement are the significant accountability and oversight measures we’re putting in place.”

The paper was consisted of in 547 pages of public files that were offered on the FTC’s site Monday, highlighting the stress that emerged in between Facebook and the firm as they attempted to settle the information of what wound up being a record settlement. News outlets, consisting of The Washington Post and The Hill, made a Freedom of Information Act ask for files connected to the Facebook settlement.

The settlement in between Facebook and the FTC originates from an information personal privacy scandal including Cambridge Analytica. The now-defunct UK consultancy that dealt with President Donald Trump’s project gathered the information of approximately 87 million Facebook users without their authorization. The FTC was examining whether Facebook broke an earlier arrangement to safeguard user personal privacy.

Lawyers for Facebook compared what the FTC was proposing to fines the firm troubled other business, consisting of LifeLock, the National Urological Group and Google. Facebook’s attorneys likewise stated that the proposed fine broke the due procedure stipulation and the Eighth Amendment, which disallows the federal government from enforcing extreme fines. The business argued that the proposed fine was “unlawful,” declaring it contravened of the FTC’s authority. 

Originally released Sept. 30, 3: 11 p.m. PT
Update, 4: 03 p.m. PT: Adds declaration from Facebook. 

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