Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

One company is having a hard time capturing U.S. regulators: Facebook. It's the subject of federal criminal investigation in New York, and is reportedly facing a record multi-billion-dollar fine from the Federal Trade Commission for violating its users' privacy.

The latest: An NBC News investigation has found that Facebook would regularly barter its users' privacy, opening up its treasured proprietary datasets to its most valuable partners, while denying them to potential rivals.

  • Regulators want to find Mark Zuckerberg personally liable, reports the Washington Post, rather than simply levying a large fine on the company. (In the context of what Wired calls "15 Months of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook," a 10-figure fine at the corporate level would hardly cause Zuckerberg to raise a sweat.)
  • Zuckerberg has accepted personal responsibility for Facebook's failings in speeches and in Congressional testimony, but Facebook is reportedly pushing back hard on attempts to get him to personally certify that his company is adhering to agreed privacy practices.

What we’re seeing: Facebook recently announced the departure of Erskine Bowles from its board of directors, noting that he has "served on the board since 2011". Bowles famously grilled Zuckerberg over how he allowed Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

  • Trump supporter Peter Thiel, who has sat on Facebook's board since 2005, remains there, despite attempts to remove him. Thiel, a multibillionaire, owns just $5 million of Facebook stock; Zuckerberg has said it would be "crazy" to remove him from the board.

The bottom line: Facebook faces no existential threat under the current administration. But if someone like Elizabeth Warren becomes the next president, that might change.

Go deeper

Ford names James Farley as new CEO amid ongoing turnaround effort

James Hackett, left, is retiring as Ford CEO. Jim Farley, right, takes over Oct. 1. Photo: Ford

Ford announced Tuesday that James Farley will take over as its next CEO, replacing James Hackett, 65, who is retiring after three years in the job.

Why it matters: It leaves Farley to complete the company's ongoing turnaround effort. The transition will be that much harder as the industry tries to navigate the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown which shuttered Ford plants for two months on the eve of some of its most important vehicle launches.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Watch the full "Axios on HBO" interview with President Trump

In this episode of “Axios on HBO”, President Trump discusses his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming election and much more with National Political Correspondent Jonathan Swan.

The interview was filmed on Tuesday, July 28 and aired Monday, Aug. 3 on HBO.

Mergers and acquisitions make a comeback

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A slew of high-profile headlines led by Microsoft's expected acquisition of social media video app TikTok helped bring the Nasdaq to another record high on Monday.

Why it matters: The mergers-and-acquisitions market looks like it's bouncing back, joining the revived credit and equity markets as well as the market for new public companies through IPOs and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).