Marco Rubio Introduces Legislation Giving the Federal Trade Commission Wide Latitude to Make Rules Regulating Facebook’s Privacy Sharing Empire

NEW YORK, NY – Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio introduced legislation Wednesday that would give the Federal Trade Commission wide latitude to make rules regulating Facebook’s privacy sharing empire.

The American Data Dissemination Act would allow the FTC to provide a series of proposals to Congress about the best way to regulate the Silicon Valley giant. If Congress fails to enact the such rules, then the agency would have authority to write rules in line with its recommendations.

FTC officials currently only have the authority to administer the rules Congress passes. The bill would instruct the agency to write recommendations to Congress for what privacy rules should look like for Facebook, while exempting smaller companies from the rules. Rubio expressed the importance of regulating the industry in a Wednesday editorial for The Hill.

“It is critical that we do not create a regulatory environment that entrenches big tech corporations,” the Republican said in a press statement. “Congress must act, but it is even more important that Congress act responsibly to create a transparent, digital environment that maximizes consumer welfare over corporate welfare.”

Democrats want the law to have more teeth. Rubio’s proposal is unlikely to find much ground for privacy-minded Democrats, especially given it does not outright give the FTC full rule-making authority. Rubio’s bill also contains a major sticking point: it would preempt state privacy rules.

California legislators adopted a series of policies in June 2018 targeting Facebook, Google, and other large social media companies. The state’s rules would heavily restrict Facebook’s ability to harvest data and distribute them to third-party groups. Rubio’s bill would effectively negate such proposals.

Facebook has been beating back negative press for the past several months. One report in December 2018 showed how the company formed data partnerships with the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg created the partnerships to stave off obsolescence and insulate the massive company from competition. Every corporate partner added helped drive the platform’s expansion and yoke people deeper into Facebook’s universe while growing advertisement.

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