Klobuchar: We Will Grill FTC on Facebook Settlement

Said reported fine was too little, consumers were losers
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Amy-Klobuchar

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is not happy with the reported $5 billion fine the Federal Trade Commission is levying on Facebook over its handling of user information, specifically the Cambridge Analytica third-party sharing debacle, and she says she will grill the head of the agency on it soon.

The FTC was investigating the company in light of a 2012 consent decree that required it to protect user data.

“We will be holding a hearing in the Antitrust Subcommittee on July 23 and FTC chair [Joseph] Simons will be testifying," she pointed out in a statement Monday (July 15). "I intend to press him on this issue. I will also continue to fight to pass my legislation to protect consumers’ privacy and bring transparency to online advertisements.”

Klobuchar, who has already signaled Big Tech needs shaking up, said in a statement she thought the fine was too little and pointed to the apparent political split. Republican appointees voted for the fine, Democrats against, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.

Related: Senate Dems Want Confirmation of Big Tech Investigations

"The fine doesn’t fit the offense," said Klobuchar. "The data privacy of 87 million Facebook users - roughly the combined populations of California, Texas and New York - was violated. A onetime $5 billion fine for a company whose profits are in the tens of billions a year is not enough to deter Facebook and force them to put consumers’ privacy before profits," she said.

She called it a "win" for Facebook "at the expense of consumers" and pointed out that Wall Street seemed to take it that way, too, since Facebook's stock went up after the settlement story broke.

Facebook had already signaled in a financial report that it was expecting a one-time charge of up to $5 billion due to the ongoing FTC investigation.

"Given the magnitude of the Cambridge Analytica violation, the FTC not only needs to impose a more significant fine, they need to be clear about what Facebook must change when it comes to data practices," she said. "It appears that they haven’t done that, which is why Congress must take action.”

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