back to article FTC gets back to work: Now, where were we? Break up Facebook and fine it $2bn, you say?

America's Federal Trade Commission has resumed work today, including its probe into Facebook, and is being urged by advocacy groups to hand the organisation a $2bn fine and break up the social networking empire. The FTC launched its investigation after last year's Cambridge Analytica scandal led to various admissions about the …

  1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Suckerbuerg for Idiot

    Suckerberg should study history. Fraudbook (as well as Chocolate Factory and others) will end up being regulated and their industries being regulated world wide. Too many people are getting hurt by their unethical behavior that local legislatures and bureaucrats will start drooling over how to regulate them.

    1. DCFusor Silver badge

      Re: Suckerbuerg for Idiot

      You are correct, of course. Just like the sign on Ron Paul's desk used to say: Don't steal, the government hates competition.

      Anything that big is too juicy to not get more skim out of - but too clever and well resourced to get more taxes out of - there's always somewhere else to declare profits or some way to hide them (which is why tax the rich plans sound good but always fail). As well as pervert to other political ends.

    2. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

      Re: Suckerbuerg for Idiot

      Yes. They - particularly Facebook - will end up being regulated and taxed. FB has just been trying it on too much and for too long. Governments outside the US - and in particular the EU Commission - must be feeling in need of a big win against an American tech giant. On the one hand they've stood on the sidelines as the evidence mounts against these companies and on the other, they're badly in need of a visible success in the face of Trump throwing his weight around on trade.

      Both the taxation and the GDPR issues have been rattling around the corridors of power for years and pretty much everyone knows that it's about time the advocates of tax and regulation are seen to achieve something concrete.

  2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Pirate

    Three companies that need to be broken up...

    Facebook,

    Google

    Amazon

    Not in any order.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

      NO, NO and thrice NO

      Just fine them out of business. The world will be a far, far better place without them.

      And make sure that all customer data/slurped data is destroyed in the process.

      A/C for obvious reasons. These companies have far too much power as it is.

      1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

        Agreed about not breaking them up. Facebook has no grip on its product except for inertia. Facebook, GMail, Instagram, Yahoo Mail, Box.com, and all of the other social sharing sites could vanish overnight if IPv6 support improved. Social content sharing is very easy to build for a distributed system that people could host at home on a low-cost device.

        1. DailyLlama

          Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

          Yeah, but really, who can be bothered to do that?

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

      I'm not so sure a breakup is needed. Just some anti-trust action to prevent them from owning/controlling everything from the manufacturing to the deliver (in Amazon's case), or having too much control over search results (in Google's case) and ad-based revenue (in the case o shadow-banned youtube videos), or "just about everything" in FB's case.

      anti-competitive monopolistic policies/actions and politically motivated manipulation has got to go.

      100 years ago, Standard Oil controlled way too much of the oil production and distribution, and was the target of government action. Also there was U.S. Steel, railroads, and the banking industry, as I recall, the "Robber Barons".

      Just apply similar regulations and whatnot to Facebook, Google, and Amazon, and everything should be ok. And a big $2billion fine for FB, assuming they deserve it.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

        I'm not so sure a breakup is needed. Just some anti-trust action to prevent them from owning/controlling everything [...]

        Yes, some anti-trust action is needed...like breaking them up. Oh, wait...

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

      No. At least not for Amazon.

      They're the only company able to ship me product on time without major screwups, and when they do screw up (or I screw up and order the wrong thing) then they quickly rectify it.

      As opposed to the nightmare of ordering from NewEgg or other places. For example, NewEgg hasn't been able to get it's head out of its ass and refund me for a monitor stand where they sent me a wall mount instead, and this was from before Christmas. Plus any number of motorcycle apparel/parts/tires places that can't ship me a simple set of o-rings, or fairing rivets, or the right size helmet visor.

      Edit: and the major problem with NewEgg is you can't email their customer service. You have a choice of chat or phone. I don't have time for that. Whoever was on chat was an idiot.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

        So you're arguing that Amazon should be allowed to engage in abusive behavior across all of society because they give you, personally, good customer service?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

        "when they do screw up ... then they quickly rectify it."

        Not my experience.

    4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

      Chocolate Factory and Fraudbook I agree, they are slurping data like a wino with bottle. Amazon tends to get blamed for mismanagement when a retailer goes belly up. Retailers go belly up because they lose sight of their customers. While Amazon dominants the online market, they are a big finish in a small pond compared to the larger retail market.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

        "Amazon tends to get blamed for mismanagement"

        I don't fault Amazon for that. I fault Amazon for slurping huge amounts of data, just like Facebook, Google, etc.

    5. DCFusor Silver badge

      Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

      So, after breaking up AT&T, they reform as....Verizon.

      Was that an improvement? I was rather fond of the work Bell Labs did, though no fan of AT&T using long distance to subsidize local service. Oh, wait - that saved me tons of money as I didn't use long distance.

      People are naive about the power of money and size vs the government, which itself is generally for sale, as history has shown over and over.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Three companies that need to be broken up...

        "Was that an improvement?"

        Yes, I think it was. Not to say that Verizon is great or anything, but the breakup of AT&T did solve a huge number of problems. That it introduced some new problems doesn't change that.

  3. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    FTC hadn't imposed a single fine against Facebook since it handed down its consent decree in 2011

    lessee, WHO was president in 2011? Heh.

    (but yeah I'm sure Zuck had the best politicians money could buy, at the time)

    Agreed that FTC needed to look at FB back then, even earlier in fact.

    A probe into Google would be nice, too. We can start with "shadow bans" and search engine result tweeking...

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: FTC hadn't imposed a single fine ....

      Too many companies have the best politicians that money can buy on BOTH sides. If one party loses power, the ones they own in the other party pick up the slack.

      But, probes AND fines (the bigger the better) along with bi-partisan legislation is needed.

      1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

        Re: FTC hadn't imposed a single fine ....

        Can YOU outbid them ??

        If Big Business owns 80% of Congress then very little legislation will pass that would hurt them significantly. Only when one part of Big Business is in opposition to another part does "social justice" legislation have a chance.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: FTC hadn't imposed a single fine ....

          "Only when one part of Big Business is in opposition to another part does "social justice" legislation have a chance."

          Maybe, but it's not much of a chance and only by accident.

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: FTC hadn't imposed a single fine against Facebook since it handed down....

      "lessee, WHO was president in 2011? Heh."

      As soon as I read that line, I knew the post was from you. Why does Obama still annoy you so much? Did he give healthcare to someone you hate? Were you bessie-mates with Bin Laden?

      Seriously, no-one cares.

      "A probe into Google would be nice, too. We can start with "shadow bans" and search engine result tweeking..."

      Obviously you aren't talking about price fixing, but some perceived pro-left, anti-right bias?

      Sorry, spending even more money on Alex Jones delusions is a waste.

      The conclusion has already been reached: Too many right wingers can't handle the truth. It's been show that the more mentally challenged - incapable of debating or challenging, simply shut down, chanting "safe phrases" such as "shadow ban", "fake news", or for the older generation, "commie pinko socialists". They behave just like a brainwashed cult member trying to resist deprogramming.

      If you want some research done, I propose getting some clever people to try and determine why the majority of the right wing hate the people who would give them better living conditions, and love the ones who screw them out of all community services, sell Americas resources to the highest bidder, and then steal from the poor to give more to the billionaires via disproportionate tax cuts.. Are you all just a bunch of masochists?

      Republican voters

      HTH

      HAND

  4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Holmes

    He Speaks!

    "I can tell you firstly we're going to look at this from top to bottom, change everything we're doing if necessary, to get it right," Sir Nick said.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47029082

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: He Speaks!

      "I can tell you firstly we're going to look at this from top to bottom, change everything we're doing if necessary, to get it right,"

      I doubt that really means changes at the top however much it sounds like it.

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: He Speaks!

        "Lessons will be learned!"

        They never are.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: He Speaks!

          Actually, lessons are learned, but they never seem to be the ones that should be learned....

    2. The Nazz Silver badge

      Re: He Speaks!

      Indeed.

      Nauseating. Typical (failed) politician speak.

    3. Evil Scot
      Big Brother

      Re: He Speaks!

      "Underlying a lot of the criticisms of Facebook's business model is the assumption that advertising is inherently exploitative.

      ...I don't share that view. There is such a thing as responsible advertising."

      There is such a thing as CONSENT!!!!

      Did I ask for my details to be used for Political marketing. NO. Neither Britain whatever or Facebook have permission for that.

      Did I ask Phillips to sell me medical equipment that I get on the NHS. No. I was looking online for a mask and hose sanitiser but at £200 not on your life.

      Did I tell face book not to use cookies et al track me. Yes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He Speaks!

        And there IS such a thing as the Law of the Jungle. Remember, nice guys finish last, and capitalism means everything is for sale...including the government.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: He Speaks!

          How do we escape from this dystopia, then?

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: He Speaks!

            You can't. It's like thermodynamics. You can't win. you can't break even, and you can't leave the game.

    4. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: He Speaks!

      Wow. Sir Nick sounds like he's just as huge of a scumbag as Zuckerberg.

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