After scandalizing the world with the Cambridge Analytics affair, Facebook is finally coming under legal fire for letting the political consultancy access personal information on 87 million users without their knowledge.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeks to slap the social network with a record fine, likely much larger than the current record — a $22.5 million fine the FTC imposed on Google in 2012 for privacy-related violations, reports the New Hampshire Union Leader.
The investigation into the scandal is not finished, but staff has been briefed about the probe and plan to issue a formal recommendation for a fine. The commissioners will then vote on it to reach a final penalty.
Facebook itself has been in talks with the FTC regarding its imminent punishment, suggesting that it has been cooperative in the process.
“The key question for the FTC is if Facebook’s business practices — and the protections and privacy controls it afforded consumers — violated requirements spelled out in a consent decree brokered by the agency the last time the tech giant deceived consumers about its practices. Only through such a finding could the FTC levy a fine,” the report notes.
Cambridge Analytica, as readers will remember, had ties to Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential campaign and is believed to have helped him beat adversary Hilary Clinton by using harvested Facebook data to better target voters with political messages.
Since the scandal, Facebook has stumbled a few more times, and will likely incur several more penalties under different legislations.
New research by Accenture indicates that cybercrime will cost businesses around 5 trillion dollars over the next five years.