The Federal Trade Commission plans to claim that Facebook mislead users about the processing of their phone numbers as part of a comprehensive complaint accompanying a settlement ending the government's personal probe, according to two people who are familiar with the matter.
In the complaint, which has not yet been released, federal regulators are having problems with Facebook's earlier implementation of a security feature called two-factor authentication. It allows users to request one-time passwords sent with a text message each time they log on to the social network.
But some advertisers managed to target Facebook users who uploaded the contact information, perhaps without full knowledge of who gave them, the two sources said. Abuse of phone numbers was first identified in media coverage and by academics this year.
The FTC also plans to claim that Facebook had provided insufficient information to users – about 30 million – about their ability to turn off a tool that would identify and offer tag suggestions for images, added the sources. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity. The problem with face recognition seems to have been published earlier this year by Consumer Reports.
FTC rejected comment. Facebook also refused to comment.
The two violations of privacy are included in a complaint linked to a settlement mediated between the FTC and Facebook, as several sources said they expect to be announced on Wednesday. The agreement requires Facebook to entrust unparalleled federal oversight of its business practices, as The Post first reported in May, including the creation of a special board on the board that regularly certifies that technical giant is properly handling user data.
But the inclusion of these two privacy issues in the complaint highlights a critical issue the Commission faces: How to deal with a litany of privacy scandals that emerged during the FTC's 16-month Facebook investigation, and whether the FTC will penalize the technology giant for the further violations or give it a clean slate forward.
As part of the settlement, Facebook will not be required to admit guilt, according to three people who are familiar with the case. The FTC often allows companies to avoid admitting some offenses as part of the agreements that terminate the investigation, and instead choose to focus their legal firepower on ensuring significant changes to an offending business's business practices. But the move could strengthen critics who feel the agency was not aggressive enough in their negotiations with Facebook.
"There is a growing perception that it experienced the effectiveness of what the agency does, depending on its ability to extract this type of recognition of errors," said William Kovacic, a former FTC commissioner who is now professor at George Washington University Law School
Google avoided a pledge when it was punished by the FTC in 2012 for privacy violations as part of an agreement with the agency that saw the tech giant paying a $ 22.5 million fine. On Monday, Equifax also did not blame it The FTC itself, as it pledged to the agency to improve its online security practices, drew the FTC's attention after suffering an enormous security breach in 2017, jeopardizing 147 million Americans 'personal information.
Adding Some Critics' Potential Objections: The FTC Did Not Ask by Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said two people familiar with the probe Tuesday.
The settlement is weaker than the tough penalties One – including a tens of billions of dollars – which some at the FTC originally hoped to get from Facebook, said sources of the Post over a six-month investigation. These questions prompted the FTC's two Democrats to vote against the settlement in July.