Speed Reads

Facebook faux pas

These emails reportedly show Mark Zuckerberg knew Facebook violated FTC protocol

Facebook is trying to claim Mark Zuckerberg had nothing to do with violating Federal Trade Commission rules. It reportedly has emails that show otherwise.

As the social media giant prepares to pay a fine of upwards of $5 billion for violating users' privacy, it's also scrambling to ensure its CEO isn't implicated in the ongoing settlement discussions. That's become especially difficult, seeing as Facebook has "uncovered emails that appear to show" Zuckerberg was "closely involved" with "potentially problematic privacy practices at the company," people familiar with the matter tell The Wall Street Journal.

The FTC has been investigating Facebook for over a year, prompting Facebook to dig up the emails in question. They include an April 2012 exchange in which "Zuckerberg asked employees about an app that claimed to have built a database stocked with information about tens of millions of Facebook users," one person tells the Journal. Zuckerberg asked "if such extensive data collection was possible and if Facebook should do anything to stop developers from displaying that data," the Journal continues. The discussion continued until Facebook agreed to suspend the app. Regulators have reportedly taken notice of that particular conversation, but noted it took place before the FTC's rule went into effect in 2012.

The Journal has not seen the emails, and said "it couldn't be determined" if they "reveal practices that violated the 2012 accord." A Facebook spokesperson said the company has "fully cooperated with the FTC’s investigation to date," adding that "at no point did Mark or any other Facebook employee knowingly violate the company's obligations under the FTC consent order." Read more at The Wall Street Journal.