Record-breaking $5bn fine on Facebook for Cambridge Analytica scandal

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Facebook has had increasing privacy concerns in the last couple years, with many reports concerning the hoarding of users’ information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) started investigations regarding allegations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

What followed this was a record USD$5bn fine on Facebook to settle the investigation into these data privacy violations. The settlement was approved in a 3-2 vote by the FTC.

The investigations by the FTC began in March of 2018 after they received reports that the data of tens of millions of Facebook users were being accessed by Cambridge Analytica. The FTC focused on whether or not Facebook violated a 2011 agreement where it was required to notify users and receive consent to obtain and share their data.

It was reported by the New York Times that Democrats sided to have stricter limits on the firm, with the fine being described by some as inadequate. “With the FTC either unable or unwilling to put in place reasonable guardrails to ensure that user privacy and data are protected, it’s time for Congress to act,” US Senator Mark Warner said.

The USD$5bn fine has yet to be finalised by the civil division of the Justice Department, and there hasn’t been a confirmed date of completion. If it were to be successful, it would be the largest fine ever on a tech company by the FTC. This has since led to positive investor reactions, with Facebook shares pushing up 1.8%.

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