July 28, 20198:00 AM ETHeard on Weekend Edition Sunday
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11, 2018.Andrew Harnik/AP
Updated at 1:23 p.m. ET
Facebook has a long track record in deception: telling people one thing, while doing another. That’s according to federal regulators, at least one of whom says the government missed its chance to find out why the company has repeatedly misled its users.
This past week, the Federal Trade Commission decided to enter into a settlement with Mark Zuckerbergwithout interviewing him first. The FTC secured a $5 billion penalty from Facebook but, FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra says, the agency sacrificed discovering the truth about the CEO in the process.
“It’s still really a mystery to me as to what role [Zuckerberg] played,” says Chopra, who opposed the settlement.
The FTC complaint against Facebook highlights a prominent moment when Zuckerberg said one thing while his company did another.
“The thing is, we don’t ever want anyone to be surprised about how they’re sharing on Facebook. I mean that’s not good for anyone,” Zuckerberg told the audience of Facebook’s annual F8 conference in 2014.
Regulators at the FTC had investigated Facebook for taking the personal data of users and, without consent, handing it off to outsiders — third-party app developers. Following that and other embarrassing revelations, Zuckerberg made a promise.
“Now, everyone has to choose to share their own data with an app themselves,” he said. “We think that this is a really important step for giving people power and control.”