Facebook should be subject to new regulations so that it can not be allowed to behave like "digital gangsters," a U.K. parliamentary committee's report has concluded.
A report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which was issued Monday after an 18-month investigation, said that the social media giant "intentionally and knowingly" violated data privacy and competition laws, The New York Timesand CNN report.
The committee had examined Facebook's internal emails as part of the investigation, and it recommends a watchdog be set up for the technology industry, as well as for Facebook and other companies to be legally compelled to remove harmful content.
"Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like 'digital gangsters' in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law," the report reads, CNN reports. The report also criticizes CEO Mark Zuckerberg, saying he showed "contempt" for the committee by refusing to appear before them and accusing Facebook of deliberately sending witnesses who weren't briefed on key issues.
Facebook expressed openness to "meaningful regulation," the Times reports. Brendan Morrow
Following a report that the social media giant gave more than 150 companies special access to users' personal information, Facebook is being sued by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, writes The Washington Post. This is over a different privacy scandal: the revelations earlier this year that a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, improperly accessed users' personal information.
A source told the Post that the lawsuit will likely be amended to take into account the other privacy issues that have come to light since then, and that several states are pursuing their own investigations.
Racine confirmed the Post's report in a statement, saying the suit is about "making Facebook live up to its promise to protect its users' privacy.”
Facebook has not yet responded, but the Post notes that this is the first example of U.S. regulatory action being taken against the company since the scandal was first reported, although there's also a federal investigation underway. CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to users when he testified before Congress in October, telling lawmakers, "It was my mistake, and I'm sorry." Facebook just recently revealed that a bug also gave some apps access to photos that users had not publicly shared; this affected up to 6.8 million users. "We're sorry this happened," Facebook said. Brendan Morrow
It appears the fallout from Facebook's year of scandal has hurt employees' morale.
After topping Glassdoor's list of best places to work for 2018, Facebook fell dramatically to seventh place in the newly-released 2019 ranking. The company's overall score dropped from 4.6 to 4.5 out of five, marking the first time Facebook's score has declined since 2015, CNBC reports. LinkedIn now ranks above Facebook, as does Zoom Video Communications, which earned second place. Sitting at number one on the list this year is Bain & Company, a management consulting company.
Glassdoor bases its ranking on a number of factors, but if you just look at Facebook's employee satisfaction, the decline is more significant, per CNBC. In the first quarter of 2018, Facebook's employee satisfaction rating was at 4.6. But now, at the end of the year, it's at 4.3. Google also fell in the ranks compared to last year, although it only dropped three spots compared to Facebook's six, now coming in at number eight. Apple and Microsoft, meanwhile, moved up the list.
Facebook's 2018 has been a public relations disaster, starting with revelations in May that a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, had improperly gained access to users' private information. The New York Times reported recently that the company knew about Russian interference on its platform before it let on, and that it hired a lobbying firm to attack critics by linking them to liberal billionaire George Soros.
Glassdoor's findings fit in with a Wall Street Journal report from last month that employee morale has taken a hit at Facebook, with "several key measures of internal sentiment taking a sharp turn for the worse over the past year." Brendan Morrow