FTC Struggles to Decide How to Hold Facebook Accountable for Privacy Breaches

It’s no surprise that Facebook is in trouble for privacy lapses. The problem, however, is that the Federal Trade Commission is struggling to decide who is responsible and by how much.

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating how to hold Zuckerberg accountable for all of Facebook’s 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.

Facebook has continued to have privacy issues beyond the Cambridge Analytica case, including storing Instagram passwords which employees could access and unintentionally harvesting 1.5 million users’ email contacts, among others.

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.

Facebook has noted that it is setting aside $3 billion to cover the FTC fine. While it may seem like a lot of money to many people, it is only one-third of what Facebook made last quarter.

While the FTC wants to make a statement about accountability with the Facebook case, many in the FTC cannot decide on how high a fine or to to what degree the CEO should be held responsible.

FTC chairman Joseph Simons has reported that three Republican commission members want to approve the deal, while the remaining two Democratic members are “holding out for a stiffer punishment.”

The FTC is expected to vote on the final decision soon.

Eric Silver

Eric Silver

Eric Silver is a veteran technology blogger and startup enthusiast that's been covering the global technology scene since the most advanced phones were still folding in half.