Sen. Wyden: People like Mark Zuckerberg should be punished for their lies

Nick Rose
Producer

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has a message for Silicon Valley: mind your own business.

On Thursday, the Oregon Democrat introduced a data privacy bill which would force tech companies to do just that, and he’s threatening to put executives behind bars if they don’t comply.

“I don't think anything will change unless there are personal consequences when someone like Mark Zuckerberg lies and lies repeatedly to the public with respect to their privacy policies,” Wyden tells Yahoo Finance’s On The Move.

The Senator has been an outspoken critic of Facebook in the past, calling on the social network to change its policy on political advertising back in August of this year. Now, he says, Americans deserve to know how companies like Facebook are using their personal information.

“I think my bill goes to the heart of the key issues. One is people ought to be in a position to control what happens to their data. Second, we need more transparency in terms of how these companies work,” he says.

The bill, dubbed the Mind Your Own Business Act, promises to create strong protections for Americans’ personal data and gives the FTC additional power to enforce tough penalties, even jail time, for those who break the law.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his company’s position on “free expression” in a speech at Georgetown University on Thursday.

“People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — it’s a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society,” Zuckerberg told the audience. “I understand the concerns about how tech platforms have centralized power, but I actually believe the much bigger story is how much these platforms have decentralized power by putting it directly into people's hand.”

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg addresses the audience on "the challenges of protecting free speech while combating hate speech online, fighting misinformation, and political data privacy and security," October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

This all comes as Facebook increasingly finds itself at the center of the national debate, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle condemning the company’s massive influence on government and politics. But Zuckerberg says this line of thinking could be “dangerous for democracy over the long term.”

“Increasingly, we're seeing people try to define more speech as dangerous because it may lead to political outcomes that they see as unacceptable. Some hold the view that since the stakes are so high, they can no longer trust their fellow citizens with the power to communicate and decide what to believe for themselves,” Zuckerberg said.

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Nick Rose is a producer for Yahoo Finance.

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