London - Paris

Facebook Saga

Facebook Saga

In the land of Facebook things are getting tough.


There is an abundance of Facebook headlines in the news and the saga continues. 2019 is going to be the year of GAFAs, will Facebook survive? the combat of lobbies is tough.

Via Mario Guglielmetti : ‘the Parliament(s) of 9 countries of the world, calling Mr Zuckerberg to testify on electoral manipulation by his company once more. Canadian Parliament asks for a subpoena. In case Facebook’s CEO is on Canadian territory, he’ll be brought to the hearing by force.Ethics committee votes to subpoena Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to testify

Bloomberg report : Zuckerberg Sued Over Privacy Scandals, Alleged Insider Trades (1) “Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook Inc.‘s other top executives have been hit with a lawsuit accusing them of insider trading and blaming them for the privacy scandals that have rocked the social media giant and its stock value since 2016. The shareholder complaint was filed May 1 in Delaware Chancery Court against Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Peter Thiel, and three other Facebook board members. It comes about a week after the company announced it expected to pay a fine of up to $5 billion for violating a Federal Trade Commission consent decree requiring better privacy safeguards.”

Nancy Scola wrote in Politico : ‘Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission are negotiating a possible settlement that would require the company to place privacy-minded executives at the company’s highest levels, a source close to the talks told POLITICO on Wednesday — in addition to paying the expected multibillion-dollar fine it disclosed last week.

Facebook says it ‘unintentionally uploaded’ 1.5 million people’s email contacts without their consent

Mark Zuckerberg leveraged Facebook user data to fight rivals and help friends, leaked documents show

Regulators Around the World Are Circling Facebook

New York, Canada, Ireland Launch New Investigations Into Facebook Privacy Breaches

Canada’s privacy commissioner is suing Facebook over its balking at the country’s recommended privacy changes: “Facebook should not get to decide what Canadian privacy law does or does not require.

Michael Geist wrote : Thank Facebook for reminding us Canada’s privacy protection is utterly inadequate

For Kameron F Kerry A federal privacy law could do better than California’s

The Irish Times reports : Data Protection Commissioner to investigate Facebook over password storage

Ashkan Soltani reported Irish Data Commission Board announced they’re investigating Facebook for plaintext storage of “hundreds of millions of user passwords” This is the “at least the 11th probe” by European regulators into Facebook’s violations of GDPR #privacy

New York Attorney General opens investigation into collection of e-mail addresses by Facebook. “It is time Facebook is held accountable for how it handles consumers’ personal information.”


Facebook made $15B in the last three months – $3B for violating an FTC order & a decade of privacy violations would be a mere slap on the wrist. FTC must pursue strong structural remedies & impose managerial accountability. Facebook won’t listen otherwise.

Facebook expects FTC fine could be as much as $5 billion

For Siva Vaidhyanathan Regulating Facebook will be one of the greatest challenges in human history

Wired wrote : ‘Every time Mark Zuckerberg has pushed the boundaries of privacy, he’d get a slap on the wrist, and continue rolling out new disruptive products. Until now. Facebook says it expects to pay a fine of $3- $5 billion to the FTC for privacy violations.

German data protection authorities publish new guidelines for operating Facebook fanpages

GDPR cases drive bigger budgets for Nordic regulators

The French CNIL has announced the end of the grace period, Dutch DPA has announced investigating non compliant websites, German DPAs have followed but still nothing from the UK ICO and Irish DPC slow on waking up. What is the EDPB going to do to ensure the consistency mechanism ?

The GDPR is the world’s toughest standard for data privacy. But nearly a year later, its chief enforcer has yet to take a single action against major tech firms like Facebook and Google.’ Read more here.T

Giovanni Buttarelli on state of GDPR adoption: ‘Even ticking a box does not necessarily mean consent is freely given’. The head of the European Data Protection board, in charge of the Consistency Mechanism and harmonisation of regulations announced :  “Yesterday, we had an important discussion within the European Data Protection Board — the network of all data protection authorities. We agreed to better synchronize our efforts around cross border [rulings]. Although Ireland is legal authority for Facebook and Google, we have decided to work on the basis of increased cooperation between the DPAs

Graham Cluley writes : So, how’s Facebook going to screw us next?

From EPIC – Electronic Privacy Information Center:

More than 26,000 complaints against Facebook are currently pending before the FTC. In the eight years since the Commission announced the consent order against Facebook it has not taken a single enforcement action against Facebook. EPIC and a coalition of consumer privacy organizations filed the original complaint against Facebook in 2009.”While Facebook has been claiming for stronger data regulation, while stil struggling to comply with the GDPR, here comes a new story, Data breach on Amazon servers. Facebook has much on its plate to fight survival. will Facebook resist?

#gdpr update – Press release from the European Commission

Facebook promise it changed its terms and clarify its use of data for consumers.

A new notification tells users events their ‘friends’ will attend. Not sure this is going to be much privacy friendly !

Vera Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice:

Today Facebook finally shows commitment to more transparency and straight forward language in its terms of use. A company that wants to restore consumers trust after the Facebook/ Cambridge Analytica scandal should not hide behind complicated, legalistic jargon on how it is making billions on people’s data. Now, users will clearly understand that their data is used by the social network to sell targeted ads.

Facebook also amended its:
– policy on limitation of liability and now acknowledges its responsibility in case of negligence, e.g where data has been mishandled by third parties;
– power to unilaterally change terms and conditions by limiting it to cases where the changes are reasonable also taking into account the interest of the consumer;
– rules concerning the temporary retention of content which has been deleted by consumers. Such content can only be retained in specific cases and for a maximum of 90 days in case of technical reasons;
– the language clarifying the right to appeal of users when the their content has been removed.

In the news : Over 540 million Facebook records found on exposed AWS servers.

As Millions of Facebook Records Found on Amazon Cloud Servers .

The data exposure is not the result of a breach of Facebook’s systems. Rather, it is another example, akin to the Cambridge Analytica case, of Facebook allowing third parties to extract large amounts of user data without controls on how that data is then used or secured.The Guardian

On the other hand, The Economist reveals that Facebook’s ad system seems to discriminate by race and gender.

Facebook has been under scrutiny by the US FTC and could reportedly face multibillion-dollar FTC fine over privacy violations. 

In November 2018 ‘The UK Parliament used a rarely-used procedure to compel an app developer to seize a number of internal Facebook documents related to the company’s decision-making process preceding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, reports The Guardian. The documents reportedly contain “significant revelations” about the decisions that set the stage for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.’ Reported the Verge.

In October 2018 UK fined Facebook £500,000 for failing to protect user data.

‘The British government is going to hit social media firms with fines potentially worth billions of dollars if they fail to rid their platforms of harmful content.

In an interview with Business Insider, the U.K.’s digital minister Margot James said a new independent tech regulator will be given powers to punish companies, including Facebook and Google, which don’t properly protect users.’ As reported by The Entrepreneur.

Facing scrutiny, Facebook reportedly hired a PR firm that wrote negative articles about rivals Apple, Google, reports CNBC.

Facebook is partnering with a big UK newspaper to publish sponsored articles downplaying ‘technofears’ and praising the company. says CNN

Not enough? Facebook’s ad system seems to discriminate by race and gender

Trying hard to avoid to drawn Facebook Is Paying a British Newspaper to Run Facebook-Friendly Sponsored Content.

In November 2018 The Verge reported : ‘One of the bigger bombshells in The New York Times’ massive Facebook investigation published yesterday was that the company had hired an opposition research and consulting firm known as Definers Public Affairs, which it said had created deceptive news posts and pushed them onto a network of conservative websites. Now, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he has no idea who hired them.’

Facebook tries to Flunk PR With Its Call for Regulation. ‘People shouldn’t have to rely on individual companies’ to address issues such as privacy and hate speech, Zuckerberg says in op-edcalls for stronger regulation’ Reports the WSJ.

‘At the weekend Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg surprised the world by calling for more regulation, suggesting that the US should adopt Europe’s data protection rules UK said to Zuckerberg: Show us you’re sincere about regulation. Rory Cellan Jones from the BBC reported ‘UK’ data regulator @iconews says Zuckerberg should “review” appeal against £0.5m fine to show Facebook is sincere about regulation.

The issue with Facebook is only showing why these Tech businesses built on the ‘Free’ business model are no more sustainable. ‘Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has accused technology giants of competing unfairly’ Reports The Guardian.

As Dr Johnny Ryan, who works as chief policy and industry officer for privacy-oriented web browser Brave. wrote on Twitter, ‘If Zuckerberg wanted a global GDPR, he would have kept Facebook’s non-EU users under European regulation.’ Surely he could ‘reverse the decision to move non-EU users from Ireland to US processing centers on the eve of the GDPR enforcement.‘ as Tim Walters said.

Tim Turner, Data Protection trainer & consultant commented “Unpopular opinion: the ICO wants Facebook to drop their appeal because they’re worried that if it goes ahead, Facebook will win. ICO’s case is based on a flawed hypothetical argument, having changed substantially halfway though. Appeals are good. They allow a fresh set of eyes on the case and the ICO’s handling of it. Denham’s impatience with controllers’ right to appeal (expressed publicly more than once) suggests that she doesn’t respect the system she is part of. If her case against Facebook is solid, she should relish the chance to prove it. If it isn’t, the appeal is all the more necessary.”

Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to fix the internet. Don’t take him seriously – Roger McNamee in The Guardian.

In February this year ‘Germany’s antitrust watchdog ruled on Thursday that Facebook abused its market dominance in collecting, merging and using user data.’ reports CNBC.

In the US Democratic leader calls on FTC to investigate Facebook’s market power. 

Facebook ‘has paid teenagers to spy on their behavior, even asking users “to screenshot their Amazon order history page,” according to the website TechCrunch. The company has secretly collected highly sensitive data through the back doors of other apps, such as ovulation trackers, to target ads at users “even if no Facebook account is used to log in and if the end user isn’t a Facebook member,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

And in its pursuit of dominance, Facebook gave at least 60 device makers direct access to its users’ data. Those actions are under criminal investigation, The Times reported last week. Facebook has also engaged in campaigns to obstruct congressional oversight and to smear and discredit critics — tactics reminiscent of the big tobacco playbook.’ Reports the New York Times.

Several class actions against Facebook are pending. Will Facebook survive?

Picture shared with the kind permission of professional photographer Geoff Lowe.


Leave a Reply