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US regulators mull holding FB CEO accountable

Worried over the mishandling of users’ personal data on Facebook, the US federal regulators are now considering the possibility of holding its CEO Mark Zuckerberg accountable.

According to a report in The Washington Post on Thursday, “the discussions about how to hold Zuckerberg accountable for Facebook’s data lapses have come in the context of wide-ranging talks between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Facebook”.

Sanctioning a tech CEO would be a rare move by the FTC and could be a signal to other tech honchos as governments the world over are in a huddle how to safeguard users’ data.

“Such a move could create new legal, political and public-relations headaches for one of Silicon Valley’s best known and image conscious corporate leaders,” the report said.

The US government has so far spared Zuckerberg from direct scrutiny.

The FTC is largely probing the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that exposed personal data of 87 million Facebook users.

There have been several incidents after the Cambridge Analytica episode where Facebook acknowledged series of privacy lapses, including the latest admission that it mishandled millions of users’ passwords on Instagram and “unintentionally” uploaded emails of nearly 1.5 million of its new users.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut) said on Thursday that “holding Mark Zuckerberg and other top Facebook executives personally at fault and liable for further wrongdoing would send a powerful message to business leaders across the country”.

Earlier this year, The Washington Post reported that Facebook could end up paying a record-breaking fine, in the multi-billion-dollars range, to avoid a court battle.


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