Press Release

We Applaud Senators Hawley and Blumenthal Calling Out the FTC; Now Congress Needs to Hold the FTC Accountable

Washington, D.C. — Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) wrote a strongly-worded demand to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday regarding its investigation into Facebook urging the Commission “to move to compel sweeping changes to end the social network’s pattern of misuse and abuse of personal data.”

The letter blasted the FTC’s rumored $3-5 billion dollar fine as “a bargain” for Facebook and compared the FTC to “traffic police handing out speeding tickets to companies profiting off breaking the law,” warning that “Facebook and others will continue to push the boundaries.”

The two senators stated that “fines alone are insufficient” and recommended “far-reaching reforms” such as “long-term limits on Facebook’s collection and use of personal information”; “setting rules… on what Facebook can do with consumers’ private information”; and imposing “tough accountability measures and penalties for individual executives and management responsible for the violations of the consent order and for privacy failures.”    

“Senator Blumenthal and Senator Hawley make a simple and compelling point. The Federal Trade Commission should do its damn job.” said Open Markets fellow Matt Stoller. “When Chairman Joe Simons was appointed, I had hoped he would break with the failed legacy of the Obama administration and end the monopolization in our markets. He hasn’t. If this settlement is anything like it’s been rumored, Congress should step in, investigate the failed FTC, and if necessary, move funding to state-level enforcers who are acting.”

If the FTC fails in its duty to enforce the consent decree and regulate companies like Facebook in meaningful ways, Congress should move to hold the FTC accountable for its failure to regulate and consider redirecting its funding to the State Attorneys General.

To learn more, read Open Markets’ Director of Enforcement Strategy Sally Hubbard’s recent op-ed on CNN Business here.

Press Contact: Stella Roque at Open Markets Institute, [email protected]