Thursday, 22 August, 2019

Facebook faces ‘record-setting’ fine over privacy violations

Earlier Cambridge Analytica gained access to information on about 70 million Facebook users in the US Earlier Cambridge Analytica gained access to information on about 70 million Facebook users in the US
Pablo Mccormick | 20 January, 2019, 23:02

The Federal Trade Commission has been probing Facebook since past year.

Facebook also has talked with FTC staffers about the investigation, one of the people familiar with the probe said, but it is unclear whether the company would settle with the FTC by accepting a significant financial penalty.

Three sources familiar with deliberations told the paper anonymously that the penalty is expected to be significantly larger than the $22.5 million fine levied against Google in 2012 - a record penalty for breaching a deal with the government to bolster privacy safeguards.

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The announcement followed news reports that revealed lax oversight by the social media company had enabled a quiz app on Facebook to gather details on 87 million users and share it with now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. In the 2012 agreement with the FTC, Facebook agreed that it had deceived users by telling them certain information would be kept private when it was not. Another commentator, Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said: "The agency now has the legal authority, the evidence, and the public support to act". That fine set a record for the greatest penalty for violating an agreement with the FTC to improve its privacy practices.

Both the FTC and Facebook have denied commenting on the investigation. It's also not clear whether the agency has settled on how much to seek from the Menlo Park, California-based company or whether it will also require changes to Facebook's data collection and sharing practices.

2018 has been a rough year for Facebook with incessant data leak reports and internal turmoil between CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook employees.

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After a series of data-privacy scandals from Facebook were thrown some lights on, FTC chairman, Joe Simons, has been under massive pressure to come down hard on the social media platform.

Since the Cambridge Analytica situation emerged 10 months ago, Facebook has vowed to do a better job of corralling its users' data.

The U.K. handed Facebook a $640,000 fine that they are appealing. Facebook has said the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are also investigating.

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