Potentially, we could be seeing the end of Facebook, as they face the likelihood of a billion dollar fine, that could possibly reach into the trillions of dollars, depending on Congress.
Facebook’s disclosure last week that its search tools were used to collect data on most of its 2.2 billion users could potentially trigger record fines and create new legal vulnerability for not having prevented risks to user data, said three former federal officials.
The three former officials, all of whom were at the Federal Trade Commission during the privacy investigation that led to a 2011 consent decree with Facebook, said the company’s latest mishap may violate the decree’s provisions requiring the implementation of a privacy programm reports SFGate.
Capitol Hill may not give Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a warm welcome next week. That’s because when Facebook was asked to answer questions about Russia’s fake news campaign during the 2016 election, the social media network sent a “relatively low-level official,” which didn’t go down well with lawmakers, says Ken Gude, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Zuckerberg will testify before Congress on April 10th and 11th about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The language was written to require Facebook to identify and address emerging threats to user privacy as its business practices changed over the 20-year term of the consent decree, said David Vladeck, who was head of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection when the decree was drafted and signed by Facebook. That meant the company was required to limit its sharing of user data and prevent outsiders from improperly gaining access, he said.
“Is it possible that this episode is also a violation of the consent decree? I would say yes,” said Vladeck, now a Georgetown University law professor.
He predicted that Facebook may face fines of $1 billion or more for this and a previously reported mishap in which a political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, improperly gained access to information on up to 87 million Facebook users, of whom 71 million are Americans.
Violations of the FTC consent decree also carry the possibility of fines that could top $40,000 per “violation.” With more than 200 million Americans using Facebook, the fines could – at least in theory – reach into the trillions of dollars if the FTC found violations. (Facebook last year earned profit of $15.9 billion on $40.7 billion in revenue.) The former FTC officials said the actual fines would be far smaller but still could easily top the previous record of the $168 million civil penalty by the FTC against the DISH Network for violating telemarketing rules.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
April 9th, 2018