$5bn facebook

Facebook to Pay $5bn for Privacy Concerns

Facebook will pay a $5 billion fine to settle privacy concerns, the US Federal Trade Commission has said.

The social network must also establish an independent privacy committee that Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg will not have control over.

The FTC had been probing allegations political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

The probe then widened to include other issues such as facial recognition.

The $5bn fine is believed to be the biggest ever imposed on any company for violating consumers’ privacy.

“Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. He added that the magnitude of the fine was designed “to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations”.

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$5 Billion US FTC Fine Doesn’t Mark the End of Its Troubles: Facebook

Facebook survived its latest brush with U.S. privacy regulators, at the cost of a record $5 billion fine and other restrictions imposed by the Federal Trade Commission. But it’s far from home free.

While the company looks set to prosper in the wake of the FTC case, it faces a series of other investigations into its privacy practices in Europe and across the US. Concerns over the limits of the just-settled probe could fuel efforts to craft tougher privacy laws at the state and federal level.

The social network is also gearing up to fight investigations into its allegedly anticompetitive behaviour, such as Facebook’s habit of buying would-be rivals like Instagram and blatantly duplicating features introduced by competing services.

The Department of Justice opened a broad antitrust probe focused on technology companies on Tuesday. On Wednesday Facebook disclosed that it also faces a fresh FTC investigation into alleged anticompetitive behaviour. It didn’t provide details of the scope or focus of the probe. Representatives of the FTC confirmed the antitrust investigation but offered no additional information.

WhatsApp Payments

WhatsApp Payments Coming to India Later This Year

WhatsApp is all set to launch its peer-to-peer, UPI-based Pay service for over 300 million users – especially the small and medium businesses in India sometimes later this year, its Global Head Will Cathcart announced on Thursday.

WhatsApp launched a test run of its payments service with one million users in the country last year which got stuck in the digital payments framework guidelines but now, the service is in its final stages.

“To boost digital inclusion in India, we can launch the Pay service across the country later this year after meeting regulations,” Cathcart told the audience at an event.

The country’s digital payments industry is estimated to hit $1 trillion by 2023.

According to a report by Omidyar Network and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), nearly half of MSME owners with annual business revenue between Rs. 3 lakhs and Rs. 75 crores would use WhatsApp Payments once it is fully rolled out.

Speaking at the event, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said WhatsApp was delayed in meeting India’s regulatory norms to launch its digital payments service.

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UK Regulator Probes Facebook, Google Dominance in Advertising

The Competition and Markets Authority said that if it found that the companies’ market power was harming competition it would consider bringing in a stricter regulatory regime.

 

The UK’s antitrust authority is starting a long-awaited investigation into the dominance of social media giants including Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc in digital advertising markets.

 

The Competition and Markets Authority said that if it found that the companies’ market power was harming competition it would consider bringing in a stricter regulatory regime. The new rules could limit how the firms set prices with advertisers, it said. Some separation of business units may also be appropriate, the regulator said.

 

The CMA is joining other European regulators in examining how the online advertising market functions. French and German antitrust authorities have separately been looking at the market, with France’s competition agency flagging the scale of Google’s ad offering and data as a potential concern. Data protection authorities are also scrutinizing the advertising bidding process and how it may share personal information.