Facebook has been negotiating with regulators from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for months to determine how the company will be punished for its treatment of user data. According to a report from Reuters this week, the final verdict could be handed down as soon as next month — and it could potentially feature a two-decade sentence of government privacy oversight.
The proposed agreement would resolve a regulatory probe into whether or not Facebook violated a 2011 deal with the FTC, promising the company would obtain user consent before gathering data. The current investigation began following the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal last year, when it was revealed that Facebook “inappropriately shared” the data of 87 million users with the since-defunct political marketing firm.
If the expected terms of the agreement are reached, Facebook would submit itself to 20 years of government oversight of its privacy practices and policies. The company could also face a fine up to $5 billion — shattering the previous record of $22.5 million levied against Google in 2012. However, several prominent lawmakers have slammed the settlement as not going far enough. But no matter how the final deal shakes out, it seems inevitable that Facebook will soon be brought to heel by the government.
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