Elder Patriot – It appears that Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg are facing down a quadruple barrel shotgun with the news that the FBI, SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission,) and the Department of Justice have joined in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) probe into the social media titan.
Zuckerberg was questioned by congressional investigators in April but his refusal to be forthcoming and to answer simple questions without claiming ignorance of basic fundamentals about the way his company – the company that he founded – operates and the laws that Facebook must comply with raised serious flags with the different law enforcement agencies.
For the most part, Mr. Zuckerberg’s congressional appearance amounted to a dog and pony show. You’d think that coming only days after Ted Cruz’s questioning of Facebook Global Policy Management Head Monika Bickert that Mr. Zuckerberg would’ve faced a more intensive grilling.
Bickert: The mission of our company is to connect people. We do not look at ideology or politics. We want people to be able to connect and to share who they are… We do not have any policy about political ideologies that affect our platform.
Now, ostensibly, the FBI, SEC, and DOJ have joined the FTC in an action that the FTC was positioned to handle by itself… if indeed this was only about the Cambridge Analytica data breach violating a 2011 consent decree.
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica breach, The FTC had opened an investigation based on that violation in March.
When the case was opened FTC Director Tom Pahl said:
“The FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers. Foremost among these tools is enforcement action against companies that fail to honor their privacy promises, including to comply with Privacy Shield, or that engage in unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers in violation of the FTC Act. Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements. Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.”
But the involvement of the FBI, SEC, and the DOJ indicate this is about much more than a single data breach.
As we reported at that time while the mainstream media was going apoplectic over Cambridge Analytica’s ability to mine the personal data of 87 million Americans in support of the Trump campaign, they had actually praised Obama’s campaign team for doing the same thing in securing his 2008 election.
There was also evidence given by Obama’s 2012 Director for Media Analytics, Carol Davidsen, that Facebook had provided carte blanche access to the personal information of virtually everyone of their users, and even people who weren’t users that they were unlawfully tracking, to the Obama campaign.
At that time we stated that this amounted to hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars of in kind contributions to past and future Democratic candidates. And, not a penny of it was declared on FEC filings of even a single candidate.
That was only weeks before Zuckerberg put his thumb in the eye of congressional Republicans in April. We also reported that Zuckerberg began preparing for Facebook’s Armageddon prior to his April testimony by dumping at least $12.7 Billion in Facebook stock in what amounted to a violation of insider trading laws..
For our reporting on Facebook’s illegalities they have restricted traffic to our site by as much as 95% at times, critically diminishing our revenues. Many other publishers who dared challenge Facebook’s political views have been driven out of business entirely.
Ted Cruz reminded Mr. Zuckerberg of his responsibilities under section 230 immunity of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) that only affords Facebook protection as long as they operated as a neutral public forum.
Facebook had a chance to conform following Zuckerberg’s congressional appearance but chose to continue operating as an extension of the Democratic Party and the Antifa movement in violation of a multitude of laws.
Now, because of Zuckerberg’s arrogance, the full panoply of alphabet soup investigative agencies have turned their sights on Zuckerberg and his company. We can only say, it’s about time.