Why a Republican senator wants the FTC to throw the book at Facebook

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Facebook co-founder, chairman, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg departs after testifying before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018, in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / Facebook co-founder, chairman, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg departs after testifying before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018, in Washington, DC. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Two senators—one Republican and one Democrat—are urging the Federal Trade Commission to take a hard line against Facebook in its ongoing negotiations over a privacy settlement.

“The FTC must set a resounding precedent that is heard by Facebook and any other tech company that disregards the law in a rapacious quest for growth,” write Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). “The commission should pursue deterrent monetary penalties and impose forceful accountability measures on Facebook.”

Facebook stands accused of violating the terms of a 2012 privacy settlement. Prior to that settlement, the FTC had charged Facebook with deceiving customers by telling them their data would be private, then making it public without consent. In settling the charges, Facebook promised to give users “clear and prominent notice” of how their data would be used and to seek user consent before using the data in undisclosed ways.

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