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FTC being pressured by advocacy groups to “break up” Facebook

It looks like Facebook won’t escape its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

This as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is being pressured to “break up” the social media giant by advocacy groups in the States for the part it played in that particular scandal, as well as several data breaches and privacy violations that have occurred on the platform.

The groups in question include Open Market Institute, Color of Change, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, all of whom wrote to the FTC requesting a significant government intervention into the operations of Facebook.

Along with calling for government action, the letter (PDF) also mentioned a few more steps that could be taken against Facebook. These included a multibillion dollar fine for the company, a redefining of its hiring and employee policies, and lastly breaking up the firm for abusing its market position.

It’s the final suggestion that is most intriguing, as it remains to be seen if the FTC indeed has the power to carry out such an action. For now it seems as if the Commission only has the ability to impose fines for any rules that Facebook breaks, along with coming to agreements with the company as to how it handles consumer data.

“Given that Facebook’s violations are so numerous in scale, severe in nature, impactful for such a large portion of the American public and central to the company’s business model, and given the company’s massive size and influence over American consumers,” reads the advocacy groups’ joint the letter to the FTC.

“Penalties and remedies that go far beyond the Commission’s recent actions are called for,” it continues.

Whether anything of the sort happens remains to be seen, especially as the US government (which the FTC falls under) is currently shutdown.

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