Facebook and Privacy: Will Zuckerberg Be Held Responsible?

Once again, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and co-founder, may be in trouble with federal regulations.

It was recently announced that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating how to hold Zuckerberg accountable for all of Facebooks’ privacy missteps, including his past remarks regarding privacy on the platform.

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission started looking into Facebook’s privacy policies after the news broke that UK political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, had taken the data of 87 million Facebook users without permission.

Currently, the Federal Trade Commission is focused on whether or not Facebook violated any legal agreement with the US government to protect Facebook user data.

While the investigation is still ongoing, estimates place the possible fine Facebook could be slapped with a fine larger than the record-setting $22.5 million the Federal Trade Commission placed on Google in a 2012 case.

But, Facebook has continued to have privacy issues beyond the Cambridge Analytica case.

Recently, Facebook has announced that millions of passwords for Instagram (owned by Facebook) were stored in a way that allowed employees to access them.

As if that weren’t troubling enough, the company also noted that it “unintentionally harvested email contacts from 1.5 million users without their permission.”

In March, Zuckerberg vowed to make Facebook a “privacy-focused” social network and messaging platform.

The rush to secure Facebook as a safe space comes at the same time many users are using private, encrypted services such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp (used by 2.3 billion people) to converse out of the public eye.

As Zuckerberg said, “I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever.”

Clearly, in light of recent privacy issues, making Facebook and Facebook messenger secure may be harder to follow through with than originally planned.