back to article Facebook overpaid FTC fine by up to $4.9bn to protect Zuckerberg, lawsuits allege

Facebook is remaining silent over two explosive lawsuits unsealed this week which contain allegations that board members authorized the overpayment of an FTC fine by up to $4.9bn in order to protect CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The $5bn penalty was dished out to the social network by the Federal Trade Commission back in 2019 for " …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That feels like a breach of all the board members fiduciary duties :O

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      More than likely it is. But too many companies' officers at board level and above seem to think that rules are for the masses and don't apply to them. Their mission is to pocket all the money they can.

    2. DJO Silver badge

      Also feels like a bribe which of course is also a crime. Perhaps they should be fined the same amount for trying to corrupt the regulator.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "transparency is essential for social media platforms"

    Of course.

    And you noticed that as soon as the lawsuit landed on your desk.

    Congratulations on your foresight.

    Facebook : when it comes to El Zuck's reputation, nothing is too expensive, but when it comes to behaving properly and policing its content correctly, that's too much.

    Could somebody please shut this sewer rat down ?

    1. Alpharious

      Re: "transparency is essential for social media platforms"

      I think the market will do that. I stopped using facebook, because to be frank it was making me a terrible person. I find much more enjoyment using linkedin. There I police myself, but still try to maintain my opinions. It's a better experience because when someone disagrees with me, they bring valid points and are polite, and i do the same with others. It's honestly a better social media platform.

      But lets be real, facebook started off as a site to rank women's faces, while linkedin was made from the ground up to be a professional networking platform. Facebook only took off because of the shady palantir money. Nasty people figured out that there was government involvement, so of course they have to troll the place. My understanding is that the kids are not signing up unless the schools force them to, and that the only growing demographic is the 65+ crowed.

      1. Imhotep Silver badge

        Re: "transparency is essential for social media platforms"

        I quit Facebook about ten years ago because instead of being a place where I could keep in touch with family and friends, it had become an angry, demented crowd of voices in the corner of Hyde Park.

        My wife tells me that now there is really nobody posting at all.

        It does make me question their user numbers and the number of eyes for their ads.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "transparency is essential for social media platforms"

          Facebook aimed the for lowest denominator and got it. That means your wife's friends might have left it, but Facebook still has lots of users. For example, pop star fans who spends hundreds on their idols trivia wear. Or polticians like AOC who spend millions on Facebook and have a large following there.

          I am sure you are right in the sense the FB does all it can to oversell it's worth - but it actually does "influence" power and money on a grand scale.

      2. just another employee

        Re: "transparency is essential for social media platforms"

        ..and I stopped using LinkedIn for professional use because a whole bunch of people joned who seem to think it is just a 'better' faffbook for non-professional social media type topics.....

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: "transparency is essential for social media platforms"

      Not sure how FB pulled it off, but back in the days of MySpace, most people avoided FB like the plaque. Then in a matter of year or so around the time MySpace started making major changes to it's layout before being sold, most users suddenly showed up on FB. I suspect if FB hadn't been around, we'd be disgusted with MySpace.

      Disclaimer.. was a user of MySpace but never was or will be one of FB.

      1. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: "transparency is essential for social media platforms"

        "I suspect if FB hadn't been around, we'd be disgusted with MySpace...."

        Let it go, Tom, it just didn't work out for you. You spent too much time being everyone's friend and not enough time selling personal data to shady operators.

  3. NoneSuch Silver badge
    WTF?

    "claiming Facebook's board members "authorized" the company to pay "billions of dollars from Facebook's corporate coffers to make his problems go away.""

    No amount of money can fix el Zuck's issues.

  4. Magani
    Angel

    Douglas was prescient

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy defines the marketing division of Facebook, Inc as "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes,”

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Douglas was prescient

      The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy defines the marketing division of Facebook, Inc as "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes,”

      Shame that the ZuckerBorg™ wasn't built with a Genuine People Personality.

      Only their complaints department will survive the general economic implosion of the company as a whole.

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    A couple of old sayings...

    A rich man and his money is not easily parted.

    There's no smoke without fire.

    Now, if you had a smouldering fire, throwing money at it is one way to stub it out

  6. HildyJ Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Underestimating Zuck

    Billions is pocket change to Zuck and FlakeBook. Of course, given the opportunity, he'll pay to make the problem go away. It reminds me of the Sackler family's sweetheart bankruptcy deal where they, also, escaped prosecution and liability.

    Always remember that privilege literally means private law. Or, as they say, America has the best justice system money can buy.

    1. trindflo Bronze badge
      Pint

      Always remember that privilege literally means private law

      I never noticed that. Thanks!

      (from thefreedictionary.com):

      [Middle English, from Old French, from Latin prīvilēgium, a law affecting one person : prīvus, single, alone; see per in Indo-European roots + lēx, lēg-, law; see leg- in Indo-European roots.]

    2. Precordial thump

      Re: Underestimating Zuck

      It would be consistent for insider trading to be the weakness that brings Faecebook down. Al Capone's business model may have been racketeering and murder, but it was tax evasion that saw him shipped off to Alcatraz.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You lay down with Zuckerbergs

    You get fleas.

  8. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Devil

    Compo and Clegg*

    I guess that after working for 'Dave' Cameron, Cleggy reckoned that being employed by Mark Zuckerberg would be the next best thing. I expect he is being paid quite well, but is it really enough for an immortal soul? Only time will tell.

    *(A reference to 'Last of the Summer Wine', a BBC TV sitcom set in Yorkshire about some old retirees and their gentle japes and misadventures in their 'autumnal' years. Starred the late Peter Sallis as Clegg. He also voiced Wallace in the Nick Park 'Wallace and Gromit' Oscar-winning animations.)

  9. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Slightly OT but related

    On crawling last year's Covid modelling paper for Australia (Doherty Institute), I discovered they had developed movement & mixing estimates from live movement data of the general population purchased from 2 tech majors. Google, obviously -- everyone knows about Android tracking you & Google selling it.

    But _Facebook_ was ALSO selling them live movement data.

    I was unaware that they were tracking people geographically, so I imagine most people are unaware, so I'm just passing it on.

  10. Falmari Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Insider trading

    "The second suit, specifically, alleges the execs divested themselves of more Facebook shares between "June 26, 2013 through July 23, 2019" (the latter date being the day before the FTC fine was declared) than they otherwise would have."

    Seems to me that there is a case to be made for Zuckerberg and the exces to be charged with Insider trading.

    "Zuckerberg himself, had exploited the company's "non public information" (insider trading)."

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