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Facebook could allegedly face multibillion-dollar FTC fine over privacy breach
According to The Washington Post, presently Facebook and Federal Trade Commission officials are in discussions negotiating a multibilliondollar fine to settle the agencys investigation into the companys past privacy practices
According to The Washington Post, presently Facebook and Federal Trade Commission officials are in discussions negotiating a multimillion-dollar fine to settle the agency’s investigation into the company’s past privacy practices. It would be the largest fine the FTC has ever levied on a tech company. But as per the Post, the fine’s specific amount has yet to be verified.
The largest fine imposed till date by the FTC was a $22.5 million penalty in the year 2013 on Google after regulators found out that the search giant had tracked users of Apple’s Safari web browser after committing that it wouldn’t do so.
In the same year, Facebook entered into a consent decree with the FTC, agreeing that it would not deceive its users by promising that certain information would remain private on their profiles. The fee would likely be a consequence of breaches like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the company was found negligent in its oversight of the ways third-party applications access user data on the platform. Around 87 million users in the case of Cambridge Analytica had their private information accessed by the political consulting firm. An app maker collected the information and then packaged and sold it.
Last March the FTC first opened its investigative probe into Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica breach and other subsequent breaches, like one in the following months where a hacker was able to access data from 29 million accounts. If Facebook and the FTC don’t come to some kind of agreement over the fine, over its past negligence concerning user privacy the agency could decide to bring Facebook to court.
As per the report of the Washington Post report, the FTC could push for a fine larger than the $22 million it forced on Google for Facebook, but privacy and civil rights advocates argued that anything in the millions would be ineffective in persuading the massive social networking company to accurate its behaviour. Organizations like the Open Market Institute and Color of Change wrote to the FTC requesting that it bump up the fine to at least $2 billion.
As per this new report, they may get their hope. It’s not clear whether the FTC would request Facebook divest its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp as a part of the deal. Probably, Facebook would decline to do so, and the two bodies would be faced with a lengthy run through the courts as a result.