Facebook has come under intense scrutiny over the past year for a wide array of privacy problems. And, according to a report in The Washington Post, the pressure is about to ratchet up even further, with regulators from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allegedly considering “record-setting” fines against Facebook for failing to protect user information.
The highest fine previously levied against a tech company was Google’s $22 million settlement in 2012 for its own set of privacy violations. According to reports, the fine discussed for Facebook exceeds even that.
The FTC investigation began following the Cambridge Analytica scandal last spring, which saw the political marketing firm access the info of 87 million users without their consent. Government regulators are investigating whether Facebook violated a 2011 agreement to receive explicit user consent before sharing their personal data.
Facebook has already faced stiff punishment from European governments over its handling of user data, but this massive fine would be the most serious rebuke to date from U.S. officials. It’s part of a broader push around the world for lawmakers to hold Facebook more accountable, and it could lead to even greater regulations for the social media giant down the road — a move Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has actually welcomed. Hopefully, the more these punishments accumulate, the more Facebook learns its lesson to better protect our privacy.