Facebook’s privacy nightmare may be about to get worse.
According to a new report from The Washington Post published Friday, regulators at the US Federal Trade Commission are considering hitting Facebook with a “record-setting” fine over user privacy concerns.
There’s no word yet on exactly how big this record-breaking fine might be, but the Washington Post’s report said it is “expected to be much larger” than the previous record fine, a $22.5 million penalty against Google. The FTC allows (in theory) for fines of up to $40,000 per violation (i.e. per user), but it’s by no means clear if that’s what will happen.
Facebook spokesperson Sally Aldous declined to comment when approached by Business Insider. The FTC was not available for comment due to the ongoing partial government shutdown.
The report is indicative of how regulators and legislators are closely scrutinising Facebook, and how the social network’s scandals may do more than just tarnish the social network’s public reputation — they may do real damage to its bottom line.
In March 2018, the FTC confirmed that it was investigating Facebook’s privacy practices following the Cambridge Analytica scanda, in which tens of millions of users’ data was misappropriated by a political research firm.
The FTC slapped Facebook with a consent decree in 2011, a legally binding promise to uphold certain privacy standards. The fines Facebook may face will come if it is has been found to have violated this decree.
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