Credo Action

Tell Congress and the FTC: Hold Facebook accountable

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The petition to Congress and the Federal Trade Commission reads:

"Hold Facebook accountable for protecting its users' privacy."

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    Tell Congress and the FTC: Hold Facebook accountable

    Facebook has shown again and again that it will exploit its 2.2 billion users for profit in any way possible, even if it means violating its own privacy policies – or the law.

    A New York Times investigation just found that for years, Facebook has been giving away users' private communications, without permission or notification, to more than 150 other companies.1

    After so many broken promises to do better, it's clear that Facebook won't change unless it has to. We need government oversight and strong enforcement to require Facebook to protect its users.

    Tell Congress and the Federal Trade Commission: Hold Facebook accountable.

    Even if you have come to expect these kinds of violations from Facebook, the latest news is shocking. Since 2010, Facebook has made secret agreements to share private user data with more than 150 companies, from Microsoft to Ford Motors.2

    None of your data is off-limits. Facebook allowed Netflix and Spotify to read private messages.3 It enabled Amazon and Sony to obtain users' email addresses through their friends.4 Facebook gave user data to Apple devices even when users had disabled data sharing.5

    Facebook has a long history of these kinds of abuses. In 2011, the Federal Trade Commission charged Facebook with eight counts of violating its own privacy agreements. The FTC issued a decree that prohibited Facebook from sharing user data without explicit permission.6 Facebook absurdly claims that its latest data giveaway doesn't violate that agreement, because these companies have agreed to follow Facebook's own privacy policies and thus are an extension of Facebook itself.7

    Tell Congress and the Federal Trade Commission: Hold Facebook accountable.

    Facebook must do better. Our partners at Color Of Change are pushing the company to agree to a series of steps to reform: hire an executive-level user advocate, conduct a public review of its practices, issue a public report with recommendations for improving these practices, and create a task force to implement them.8

    Unless Facebook voluntarily makes these changes, Congress and the FTC must step in. Along with our friends at Free Press, we are calling on the FTC to enforce its agreements with Facebook. Members of Congress must also hold Facebook accountable with hearings, investigations and strong privacy legislation. If Facebook won't police itself, then policymakers must act.

    Tell Congress and the Federal Trade Commission: Hold Facebook accountable.


    1. Gabriel Dance, Michael LaForgia and Nicholas Confessore, "As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants," The New York Times, Dec. 19, 2018.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Ibid.
    5. Ibid.
    6. Ibid.
    7. Ibid.
    8. Color Of Change, "Color Of Change Responds To Facebook’s Civil Rights Update: Do Better," Dec. 18, 2018.

    Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images