May 8, 2019

Chris Hoofnagle Explains How Large Companies, Like Facebook, Often Avoid FTC Liability

From The Hill

Pressure builds for FTC to punish Zuckerberg

By Harper Neidig

Pressure is growing for federal regulators to hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable for his company’s string of privacy scandals.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is wrapping up a long-running investigation into Facebook over its data practices and is expected to levy a multibillion-dollar fine. But a report from The New York Times said that a rift has opened at the agency over whether to also hold executives like Zuckerberg liable in any enforcement action...

Chris Hoofnagle, a law [and information] professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has written extensively about the FTC, says that it’s not uncommon for the agency to go after executives, but that those actions are not taken evenly across the board.

“The FTC often imposes individual liability,” Hoofnagle said in an email to The Hill. “The problem is that it is usually just small companies that get individual liability, which is a bit perverse. Startups always have to worry about individual liability, but once you are big, you can pawn off blame on the largeness of the company.”


Last updated: May 15, 2019