Rep. Rush Calls for Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg's Ouster

In the wake of the latest revelation about how Facebook shares its users' data, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) has called on the board to "terminate" company founder Mark Zuckerberg, while Sen. Richard Blumenthal says the Federal Trade Commission needs to step in.

Rush said that Zuckerberg had been involved with an "unprecedented level of negligence resulting in the data privacy breaches, brazen lies before Congress, and collusion with a hostile foreign power."

Related: Facebook Gets Thumbs Down for Latest Data-Sharing Revelation

Rush said trust between the American people and the social media giant continued to erode with each new revelation. 

The New York Timesthis week reported that Facebook shared user data with Microsoft and allowed Netflix and Spotify to read users' private messages, according to internal company documents.

“Enough is enough. Every morning, we seem to find another story detailing Facebook’s negligence and outright disregard for its users," said Rush. "There is not a single Facebook user who knowingly consented to having their private messages read, edited, and even deleted. Based on the reporting we have seen this week, it is now clear to me that Mr. Zuckerberg knowingly lied to Congress."

Sen. Blumenthal (D-Conn.) did not seek Zuckerberg's firing, but he did fire off a letter to the FTC seeking an immediate response, given that Facebook is under an FTC consent decree. 

"The stunning new investigation by the New York Times released last night confirms that Facebook violated its consent order with its data-sharing deals, and that those at the very top, including Mark Zuckerberg, were aware of it," said Blumenthal. “While news of Facebook’s conduct continues to unfold, I am concerned that the FTC seems to be sitting on the sidelines, allowing Facebook and its handpicked auditing companies to vouch for the company. Meanwhile, reporters have aggressively pursued this story and uncovered significant new facts.” 

Facebook is under an FTC consent decree dating from its 2011 settlement of allegations Facebook deceived consumers by not keeping its privacy promises. The FTC is authorized to enforce such pledges under its Sec. 5 (unfair and deceptive practices) authority.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.