Report: Facebook Could Face “Record” Fine for Privacy Violations

Social media website Facebook could face a “record-setting” fine in the US for privacy violations. That’s according to the Washington Post.

It may be hard to believe, but the Cambridge Analytica story is now nearly a year old. Back in March of last year, controversy erupted over the data mining practices of Cambridge Analytica. Some, to this day, continue to mistakenly call it a data breach when the information affected is actually public in the first place.

Still, with the continued controversy of Donald Trump and close affiliations of Russia, the idea that Cambridge Analyitica may have played a role in the presidency means that this story wound u under the microscope. Shortly after the story broke, offices got raided and people testified before various government bodies.

About a month and a half later, the scandal proved to be too much as the company declared bankruptcy. Some behind the company wound up creating a whole new company instead as part of what some consider an effort to shake the public.

That, of course, left Facebook in this whole mess. Back in December, a lawsuit was filed against the company. While the lawsuit is looming over the company, it seems that the lawsuit isn’t the only problem the company is facing.

Last week, the Washington Post reported that Facebook could face a “record-setting fine” for privacy violations. From the report:

U.S. regulators have met to discuss imposing a record-setting fine against Facebook for violating a legally binding agreement with the government to protect the privacy of its users’ personal data, according to three people familiar with the deliberations but not authorized to speak on the record.

The fine under consideration at the Federal Trade Commission, a privacy and security watchdog that began probing Facebook last year, would mark the first major punishment levied against Facebook in the United States since reports emerged in March that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, accessed personal information on about 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge.

The penalty is expected to be much larger than the $22.5 million fine the agency imposed on Google in 2012. That fine set a record for the greatest penalty for violating an agreement with the FTC to improve its privacy practices.

The FTC’s exact findings in its Facebook investigation and the total amount of the fine, which the agency’s five commissioners have discussed at a private meeting in recent weeks, have not been finalized, two of the people said. Staff has briefed the commissioners about their probe, the third person said, and plan to issue a formal recommendation for a fine soon — a move that would then trigger a vote by the commissioners.

Since the report, we’ve been on the lookout for any further details to emerge on this fine, but to no avail. So, it’s still unclear what the liability Facebook could face at this point. Still, with at least one lawsuit working its way through the system and a potential fine, it looks like it’s going to take a while yet before this story comes to an end.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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