back to article Facebook: Not saying we've done anything wrong but... we're just putting $3bn profit aside for an FTC privacy fine

Facebook's financial figures for its first quarter of 2019, published Wednesday, had an interesting twist. The Mark Zuckerberg-run biz set aside $3bn of its profits, effectively halving its net income, to foot an expected fine from America's trade watchdog for seemingly running roughshod over people's privacy. The size of the …

  1. doublelayer Silver badge

    A good sign and a cynic

    I'm glad to hear that there may actually be a penalty for their actions. It's been a long time in coming, and I think we can see that it is well-deserved. I'm afraid, however, that as much as they set aside, they don't actually intend to start paying fines any time soon. While this amount would be a large chunk for them, they can continue to operate just fine as it sits in a bank, including using their legal strength to try to get out of paying it or fixing any of their privacy disasters. Here's hoping the fine is charged and paid quickly.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone really believe

    US is going to fine Facebook ? Oh, what a lovely bunch of fellows you are!

    1. macjules Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Does anyone really believe

      Is there a "Like" button on Facebook's announcement?

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    This private nattering platform Facebook is planning will be based around WhatsApp, with small meeting spaces, end-to-end encryption on all messages, and with the site's servers operating in a country where the government couldn't demand access.

    Just no... Yeah... private to the users and FB listening in. Moi, cynical? Nah..

    And what's with hiring those two mentioned at the end of the article? Smells like they might just be either window dressing to say they're doing something about privacy. Or, expert help in how to get around things.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Expert help in getting around things

      Definitely that.

      Nothing to see here, just a worm creating wriggle room!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a Cost of doing Business

    Just Sayin'

  5. macjules Silver badge

    Could be a trend

    Apple: "Sorry to all our shareholders but we will not be paying a dividend this year as we are reserving profits in the expectation of a massive fine for ongoing Antitrust lawsuits. By the way, we are still not going to give users a choice of browser".

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Apple and choice of Browser

      I pretty well only used Safari to download Firefox ESR on my MacBook. That was in 2015. I can't think of the last time I used Safari after that.

      This sort of thing isn't that hard to do. You could even do the same with Windows. I did back in the day when I had to use it.

      The same goes for setting the default Browser in the OS. MacOS obeys that choice a lot better than Windows btw.

      Likewise for not using Google directly for search. Startpage is there for everyone to use if they want to.

      Pretty well anyone posting here should be able to do that sort of thing quite easily. It ain't rocket science you know.

    2. N2 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Could be a trend

      By the way, we are still not going to give users a choice of browser

      Theres always been choice, you just have to look for it - I really don't see that as a problem.

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    WTF Only $3B????

    Why not $300B. Perhaps then FB and the rest might sit up and take notice.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Editor - please add as footnote to story...

    "You will notice that, despite warning about the evil and insecure nature of Facebook/Instagram/whatever, we continue to provide easy to find and obviously branded tracking links from every single page in our site (yes, even on the 404 page) to all of these platforms.

    So please understand that our stance against them is more on the 'verbiage' scale than on the 'action' scale. We don't quite dare remove the buttons, in the same way that we don't quite dare start a subscription model, even as we moan about ad-blockers. Thank-you for your understanding."

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "servers operating in a country where the government couldn't demand access"

    Uh, about that idea Zuck - it won't work. You need to have your headquarters in a country where the government couldn't demand access. As long as your company is hosted on US soil, a US judge can and will demand access (they don't always get it, but they ask for it).

    You will find that judges are a lot less accepting of being brushed off and/or ignored.

    1. ToolBoogie

      Re: "servers operating in a country where the government couldn't demand access"

      "You need to have your headquarters in a country where the government couldn't demand access"

      Which is what I have to explain to people when they discuss a certain bagless vacuum cleaner manufacturer, is doing, to get around certain other huge political things happening too.

  9. gungho

    Who gets the money ? I think it should be me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's yours. Just sign into facebook and it'll be there in bitcoin.

  10. Chris the bean counter Bronze badge

    Apple messenger on Android would wipe Zuck out

    If Apple provided a messenger+ App on Android would kill WhatsApp immediately as people trust Apples privacy policies more. If the messenger had a basic social media functionality (status update etc) would be good enough for most light users and kill Facebook, damage instagram too.

    Apple would then have billions of extra people it could sell its payment cards, music, videos, siri, games & news services too

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Apple messenger on Android would wipe Zuck out

      Not sure about this. The problem is inertia and the vicious circle of being required to use the same app as all of your friends/family/coworkers.

      Now that WhatsApp has gotten almost ubiquitous, it is almost impossible to move all those people (especially the less tech-savvy) to anything else. Inertia, laziness and the "I won't be the first" attitude will prevent it.

      It's not like there aren't any alternatives out there. It's that if you use something else (for the record, I do) you're pretty much left in peace because everyone else is on WhatsApp...

    2. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: Apple messenger on Android would wipe Zuck out

      If you want WhatsApp without the Zukerborg, Signal is already out there on every platform that matters.

      And Moxie has said he's not making the mistake of selling it out.

      Plus its FOSS, whereas knowing apple iMessage+ will be a pay to play thing

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Apple messenger on Android would wipe Zuck out

        I use Signal, but as ThatOne points out - that is no use when people you want to talk to are using Whatsapp. I've been trying to persuade some of my family to add Signal - but they just don't want to do it and just keep telling me to install Whatsapp.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Apple messenger on Android would wipe Zuck out

      a messenger+ App on Android would kill WhatsApp immediately as people trust Apples privacy policies more

      Yes, trust in privacy policies is definitely what drives adoption of communications platforms. Just as people purchase cars based primarily on the perceived quality of their door locks.

  11. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    $3B booked off for possible fines against profits?

    Surely fines are not tax deductible, so how can they claim their profits are down $3B because they reserved $3B of the profits for potential fines? Surely it is still part of the taxable profit?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: $3B booked off for possible fines against profits?

      Where do you think the $3bn is going to come from? It might not be a tax deductible cost but it's still a cost so it's going to reduce profits.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020