Why it matters: If Facebook and the FTC can agree on the terms, a settlement would save lots of time and millions of dollars in legal fees. It would also put the social network one step closer to putting this whole debacle behind it.
Facebook is reportedly negotiating a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that would put an end to the agency’s investigation into the company’s privacy practices, sources familiar with the matter tell The Washington Post.
The two sides reportedly haven’t agreed on an amount yet but according to one source, we’re looking at a multi-billion dollar fine that would be the largest the agency has ever levied against a technology company.
Up to this point, the largest fine the FTC has ever imposed against a tech company regarding the protection of consumer data was the $22.5 million penalty Google got hit with in 2012.
A spokesperson confirmed with the publication that it is in discussions with the FTC but declined to provide any additional information. Should the talks sputter out, the FTC may be forced to take the issue up in court. A legal fight of that magnitude would likely drag on for years and accumulate millions of dollars in legal fees.
Facebook’s most recent troubles with the FTC started last year following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. The bigger issue, however, is that this latest issue might violate a 2011 agreement the social network made with the agency to settle previous privacy issues.
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