The US Federal Trade Commission is considering slapping Facebook with a “record-setting” fine for its epic data-breach scandal.
The social media monopoly is accused of violating user privacy by selling their personal data to third parties without their consent — for years.
Three people familiar with internal FTC discussions told the Washington Post the agency is considering imposing a massive, unprecedented fine.
Allegedly Sold User Data Without Consent
The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating Facebook since last year amid bombshell revelations that it failed to protect the privacy of its two billion monthly users.
The FTC’s job is to protect consumers and curb anti-competitive business practices, such as monopolies. The agency has not yet concluded its findings. However, sources say things are not looking good for the social media giant.
In March 2018, Facebook was rocked by allegations that it improperly allowed UK data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica to access the personal data of as many as 87 million users without their consent.
There was speculation that Facebook violated a 2011 consent decree under which it had agreed to get user permission before sharing their data with third parties.
Many users were outraged when they found out that the company had been secretly selling their personal data to third parties without their consent.
At the time, the social media giant denied any wrongdoing, but the fallout came fast and furious.
Elon Musk: I ‘Just Don’t Like Facebook’
Actor Will Ferrell and Playboy magazine deleted their accounts, saying they were disturbed by Facebook’s misuse of user data.
Billionaire Elon Musk also deleted the accounts of his companies, Tesla and SpaceX. Musk said Facebook always gave him the creeps.
“It’s not a political statement and I didn’t do this because someone dared me to do it,” Musk tweeted. “Just don’t like Facebook. Gives me the willies.”
— Tesla Motors Club (@TeslaMotorsClub) March 24, 2018
Facebook Has Trouble Recruiting Blockchain Workers
There have been other repercussions. As CCN reported, Facebook has been aggressively trying to expand its blockchain group amid speculation that it might launch its own cryptocurrency.
To this end, the firm has been trying to hire crypto engineers, product managers, academics, and legal experts. However, Zuckerberg and company have been having a lot of trouble with their recruiting efforts because the social network’s reputation was so damaged by the data-privacy scandals.
Facebook Aggressively Hiring Blockchain Devs, Discussed Launching Cryptocurrency: Report https://t.co/SMtuRTonBN
— CCN.com (@CCNMarkets) December 16, 2018
“A lot of people obviously don’t trust the Facebook brand right now, especially people in the crypto/blockchain world,” Cheddar reported. “A lot of them got into this industry because of the centralization and the data misuse of companies like Facebook.”
Amid volcanic backlash, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized, but Facebook’s reputation has never been the same.