The Federal Trade Commission is currently investigating Facebook. Above all, the FTC checks whether Facebook has indeed succeeded in protecting its users’ data. Now it seems that CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s social network will receive a record fine for this.

That’s what the Washington Post reported last Friday. Three sources familiar with the interviews within the FTC spoke on condition of anonymity about the fine. The fine will then exceed the $22.5 million Google received in 2012 for violating an agreement to improve its privacy practices. How high exactly is not clear.

Misuse of data

Facebook has been accused of misusing personal information about its users. Last year it became clear that Cambridge Analytica had collected the data of millions of users and used it in political campaigns, without the explicit consent of those users. Since March 2018, the FTC has been investigating the data practices of the social network.

Part of the research is the question whether Facebook has violated an earlier agreement with the FTC – which was signed in 2011. At the time, Facebook promised to ask explicit permission from users before sharing their personal data. Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, there have been a number of other incidents which have shown the company’s failure to protect that data.

In September, for example, Facebook announced that there had been a security breach in which the data of 50 million users of the sun had been put on the street. Later it adjusted that number to 30 million users. And last month, Facebook admitted that it had been able for large tech companies to see users’ private messages – something that the social network said had not happened without permission.

The question is how high the fine for Facebook will be. Probably the damage won’t be too bad, but it’s more of a symbolic fine. Last year, the British privacy watchdog ICO imposed its maximum fine of half a million pounds on the social network – the highest it could hand out at the time. The FTC would do the same in this case. The exact amount will follow shortly after the investigation has been completed.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.