Facebook gets hit with a $5 billion fine over its user privacy problems

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July 15, 2019
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Facebook does a massively poor job of protecting its users data and ultimately maintaining their privacy. Be it the violation of more than 80 million accounts in the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, or the exposure of over 500 million user IDs and passwords a few months ago, the social network has proven time and again that it simply isn’t up to the job. And now, it is looking at a $5 billion fine after the latest probe in its privacy problems has ended.

The U.S Federal Trade Commission (FTC) joined a group of federal agencies last year to investigate Facebook’s actions in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, a party-line vote carried by FTC commissioners has reached the conclusion that its time to end the probe with a $5 billion payout.

That might seem like a hefty figure, but for Facebook, a company that generated revenues of approximately $15 billion last fiscal quarter, it’s hardly going to hurt. In fact, if anything, the company reportedly set aside $3 billion knowing that it’ll come down to a payout at the end.

Aside from hitting them in the pocket, the settlement agreed upon by the FTC also dictates that Facebook comply with governmental restrictions with respect to how it treats user privacy. Apparently, lawmakers for the FTC proposed a whole set of penalties that should be imposed on Facebook, including the deletion of tracking data, restricting ad targeting and limiting certain information collection.

This settlement, however, could actually end up working for Facebook in the long run. Now that the company is facing investigations over its anti-competitive business practices and its cryptocurrency Libra is being viewed with intense suspicion by none other than the President himself, it has an opportunity to buy itself out of more strict measures and oversight.


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