Two sources familiar with the Federal Trade Commission (Facebook) investigation of the Federal Trade Commission say that Mark Zuckerberg is now a target of his own. According to the Washington Post, the agency wants the company's co-founder, CEO and CEO ̵
Being responsible can mean a lot of different things in this United States of America. Post sources say the FTC's idea of punishment is "a major oversight" as well as a commitment for Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives to "regularly validate the company's privacy practices to the Board". The paper reported that Facebook is negotiating a billions of dollars fine to end the FTC's ongoing investigation. It is unclear how much of this money could come from Zuckerberg's pocket.
The symbolic effect of nailing Zuckerberg himself with punishment is certainly more important than money, especially since the 34-year-old has so much of it. Senator Richard Blumenthal, who recently criticized the FTC for taking the Facebook probe too long, is certainly a fan of Zuckerberg.
"[Zuckerberg] was not only aware of the invasion of Facebook by consumer privacy, he underlined publicly and downplayed legitimate concerns," Blumenthal told The Post. "Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook top managers, who are personally indebted and liable for further misconduct, would send an important message to corporate leaders across the country: they will pay a substantial price if they bypass the law and consumers fool. "
Imagine: A technology company run by a 21st century emperor harms its users over and over again, and its leader gets into trouble. Seems like Zuckerberg asked for it. Here is the full quote from the time when Zuck fell in his sword almost exactly a year before the House Committee on Energy and Trade, with a focus on mine:
But it is now clear that we have not done enough to prevent these tools also used for harm. This applies to false news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech, as well as to developers and privacy. We did not judge our responsibilities comprehensively enough, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake and I'm sorry. I started Facebook. I manage it and am responsible for what happens here.
But does Zuckerberg really mean that? What if the FTC decided to recommend criminal charges and the young billionaire stood in front of the prison? There is no evidence that this is possible. As The Post highlighted in its latest coverage, "Facebook fought hard to shield Zuckerberg as part of the negotiations," and if the talks fail, the matter could end up in court.
Image of Mark Zuckerberg in a courtroom. It would be almost more fascinating than the Circus on Capitol Hill last year when he stood in front of all these cameras and did not answer so many questions from the legislature. It is possible that Zuckerberg is really scared that this FTC thing will get out of control and possibly cause bad things to happen to him personally. Only a few weeks ago Zuckerberg wrote in the Washington Post a statement in which he called for external regulation. He has also posted the text on his Facebook profile. The second most popular comment is: "I believe in you, that's why I use Facebook."