Of the two huge fines coming down the tracks for Facebook – more on that in my predictions piece here – the one from the FTC is the most politically significant.
The regulator is looking at whether Facebook violated a consent decree it signed in 2011 that, essentially, said Facebook promised to be completely open with users about how their data was being used.
After the Cambridge Analytica scandal took hold, the FTC began investigating, and it is now reportedly considering a punishment. The fine could be enormous, reports the Washington Post:
The penalty is expected to be much larger than the $22.5 million fine the agency imposed on Google in 2012. That fine set a record for the greatest penalty for violating an agreement with the FTC to improve its privacy practices.
Things aren’t moving as quickly as they perhaps could, however – the FTC is currently among the agencies affected by the ongoing government shutdown.
What does record-breaking mean, exactly? It depends, writes a former FTC official and Obama advisor:
This is potentially *big* news although it will depend on what constitutes a 'record-setting' fine.
Past @FTC fines:
Past @FTC 'privacy' cases:
Facebook annual revenue: $40 Billion https://t.co/zRV4FnJgwA
— ashkan soltani (@ashk4n) January 18, 2019