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FTC confirms it is investigating Facebook over privacy concerns

By Cal Jeffrey ยท 7 replies
Mar 26, 2018
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  1. Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook has seen a tidal wave of trouble rising. Advertisers, including Mozilla, have begun pulling ads from the social network. Several lawsuits have been filed. Rumors of possible repercussions from Congress and the Federal Trade Commission have been floating around. Now it appears that the FTC has confirmed that it has opened an investigation into whether Facebook has violated any privacy regulations or laws.

    Last week we reported that former federal officials were speculating that Facebook may have violated the FTC’s consent decree. The decree is one that requires the social network to obtain explicit consent from users before sharing their data with third parties. You have likely seen this anytime you have played a game on Facebook or clicked on a link to an online survey or quiz linked with the network.

    In the case of Cambridge Analytica, only a handful of people consented to have their data gathered. However, the friends of those who opted in were also exposed to data scraping without having given their consent. Facebook could be facing a $40,000 fine for each of the 50 million privacy violations equating to almost $2 trillion in penalties. Even if the FTC decided to go easy on the social media powerhouse, it could still be looking at billions of dollars in fines.

    Although this was all just speculation last week, the threat became a bit more real this week. On Monday, the FTC Acting Director Tom Pahl issued a statement saying that the commission would be investigating Facebook’s privacy practices.

    “The FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers. Foremost among these tools is enforcement action against companies that fail to honor their privacy promises, including to comply with Privacy Shield, or that engage in unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers in violation of the FTC Act. Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements. Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.”

    Facebook has not commented on the FTC investigation, but last week CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined how the company would be shoring up security going forward in an open letter. The letter fell short of apologizing for the fiasco but said, “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you.”

    Indeed, as Facebook privacy issues continue to unfold, the #deletefacebook movement, started by WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, is beginning to look more and more appealing.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Prosercunus

    Prosercunus TS Maniac Posts: 269   +109

    Is it bad that I have become numb to this level of corruption and am only thinking about the potential to buy Facebook stock at low low prices?
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,300   +3,706

    Naaaaaa ... that's just good investment strategy .... like the well known billionare once sayed "the best time to buy is when there's blood in the streets" .....
  4. hqxt1964

    hqxt1964 TS Enthusiast Posts: 57   +18

    Facebook's Chinese transliteration: "must die"......
  5. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 702   +537

    And it took them this long why? How much of that $40k will I see, since it was my personal privacy that is the concern? Let's go after all the other companies, including app owners. We all could probably retire!
  6. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,181   +651

    2 trillion USD divided out amongst 300 million US citizens is about 6.6k each. Probably a little less in reality, after my under-estimation of the population and various costs in processing that much money.

    Even if it was just among the 50 million people who had their data sold, that's still around 40k, which is nothing as far as retirement goes.
  7. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 702   +537

    $40k as the article stated. I didn't mention everyone in the entire U.S., although people who were messaged by those being trespassed against technically were still exposed.

    I mentioned retirement after I said "all the other companies". I figure about 40k each, multiplied by every invasive app... retirement. :)
  8. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,181   +651

    The ruling in question was specific to an earlier agreement Facebook made with the FTC in 2011. It is unclear if it would cover all companies operating in the US

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