Senator Ron Wyden thinks Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should “face the possibility of a prison term” for repeatedly lying to the American people about privacy.
Wyden made the comments during an interview with Willamette Weekly which covered Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the impact of this legislation, and the adverse consequences which include Facebook using the legislation to its advantage.
Wyden is one of the authors of Section 230 – a piece of legislation which is often credited with keeping the internet open for innovation. Under Section 230, internet companies that operate as platforms aren’t held legally liable for the majority of the user-generated content that’s posted to their platforms and there’s also room for these companies to moderate content while maintaining this legal immunity.
When asked about the adverse consequences of Section 230, Wyden described Facebook as “a perfect example” of powerful companies that have used Section 230 to their advantage. He then went on to say:
“Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly lied to the American people about privacy. I think he ought to be held personally accountable, which is everything from financial fines to — and let me underline this — the possibility of a prison term. Because he hurt a lot of people. And, by the way, there is a precedent for this: In financial services, if the CEO and the executives lie about the financials, they can be held personally accountable.”
Wyden’s comments come as Facebook continues to face fresh privacy scandals in the wake of a recent privacy settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which let Facebook off for all of its past privacy violations, even those that were never made public.
Some of the many Facebook privacy violations that have been reported over the last week include researcher Jane Manchun Wong discovering that Facebook’s Android app was sucking up system libraries without permission and Facebook admitting that a technical error in its Messenger Kids app allowed kids to be introduced to adult strangers.