Carl Szabo, NetChoice vice president and general counsel, said that the multibillion-dollar fine was already a big enough statement for the FTC. “Despite a potentially record setting fine against Facebook, for anti tech activists nothing short of a total business shutdown or break-up seems to be enough,” Szabo told The Verge. “This is not a slam dunk case for the FTC and if the FTC tries to go beyond just a [financial penalty] they will lose in court.”
Ben Carson, the secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, recently sued Facebook for failing to show certain housing ads to all 218 million Americans who use Facebook. Rather than just prosecuting the advertisers who placed the ads, Carson wants to hold Facebook liable for discrimination in how these advertisers directed their ads to be shown.
Discrimination in housing is against the law. But why would HUD prosecute platforms — rather than the landlords and realtors who discriminated when placing their ads? That’s a legally tenuous tactic that just distracts from that actual problems of discrimination. If upheld, HUD’s prosecution of Facebook would let the actual discriminators off the hook, while penalizing an innovative American company and its users.
“Zuckerberg rightly raised the threat to American businesses from data nationalization laws around the world, many of which intentionally target the U.S. tech economy,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.
“Zuckerberg welcomed national or even global consensus about standards to moderate harmful content such as hate speech and terrorist propaganda. Until then, Facebook will continue to moderate content in order to meet the terms of service it promises to users.”