Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg deserves potential prison time for lying, top Democrat says

As big technology companies come under an increasing amount of scrutiny – one Democratic lawmaker is looking to hold those in charge responsible.

Oregon Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden believes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should face consequences for the social media giant’s privacy violations, telling Williamette Week Zuckerberg should possibly be sent to jail.

“Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly lied to the American people about privacy,” Wyden told the publication. “I think he ought to be held personally accountable, which is everything from financial fines to—and let me underline this—the possibility of a prison term. Because he hurt a lot of people.”

Wyden added that the precedent for such action lies in the fact that if an executive misleads investors about a company’s financials, he or she can be held personally accountable.

Facebook did not return FOX Business’ request for comment.

The punishment would be in line with legislation Wyden has been working on, known as the Consumer Data Protection Act. That bill aims to institute criminal penalties for senior executives – including “harsh fines and prison terms” – at companies that misuse Americans’ data.

Facebook was fined a record $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission in July for violating consumers’ privacy rights. The probe was borne out of the revelation that a third-party firm – Cambridge Analytica – was able to access private information belonging to millions of Americans during the 2016 election cycle.

Wyden isn’t the first lawmaker to propose sending executives to prison. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren – a 2020 presidential hopeful – unveiled the Corporate Executive Accountability Act earlier this year, which extends criminal liability to executives of any company with more than $1 billion in annual revenue if that company were found guilty of a crime or other civil violation affecting health, safety, finances or personal data of a certain percentage of the population.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that state attorneys general were getting ready to announce a new investigation into search giant Google, as pressure on the country’s largest tech companies intensifies.