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Facebook faces billions in potential fines | TECH(feed)

CSO Online | Apr 30, 2019

Amidst a slew of user data mishandlings, Facebook could be faced with billions of dollars of fines from regulatory bodies across the globe. But how much would a few billion dollars actually affect the company? On this episode of TECH(feed), Juliet dives into this story and discusses the implications for Facebook.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

Hey everyone welcome back to tech feed i’m juliet beauchamp. Today let’s talk about the slew of fines facebook may be hit with in the near future. It could be in the billions of dollars--but how much would that really affect the company? Stick around.

So last week, facebook published its quarterly report. That’s status quo… but facebook also disclosed it expects to be fined three to five billion dollars by the federal trade commission in the united states. That is… not so status quo. Let’s start there.

According to facebook, this one-time fine is related to an ongoing inquiry by the f-t-c. The charge is likely related to facebook’s violation of a 2011 privacy consent decree. The f-t-c launched an investigation into facebook’s handling of user data following the cambridge analytica scandal that unfolded last year. That’s when millions of users were profiled unknowingly and their data was used to potentially influence the 2016 u-s presidential election.

So that’s what facebook is up against in the united states. That would be the biggest fine ever issued by the f-t-c. Still, three to five billion dollars isn’t much to facebook given its annual revenue is around 56 billion dollars. Critics say this fine is equivalent to giving facebook a parking ticket. In other parts of the world, facebook is facing similar fines also related to user privacy.

In ireland, facebook may be fined billions for storing users’ passwords in plain text. The data protection regulator for europe is investigating whether or not facebook violated g-d-p-r. Under e-u privacy law, companies who fail to protect user data can be fined up to 4 percent of international revenue. For facebook, that would be around 2.2 billion dollars. Investigations into facebook have also been launched in other european countries.

And in canada, privacy regulators want to take facebook to federal court over allegedly ineffective privacy protections. However, facebook disputed the canadian watchdog’s claims. And new zealand, india, singapore and australia, to name a few countries, have passed or considered restrictions on social media.

So, yeah, it’s been a tough week or so for facebook regarding penalties for its allegedly poor data protection. Still, facebook continues to make money. Other figures in its quarterly report reveal increased revenue. Some say facebook may view these these fines as just a part of doing business.

As a bit of a consolation, facebook has said it will crack down on personality quizzes--those third-party apps that may, for example, tell you what game of thrones character you are can give developers user data. And that data can--and has--been abused before. And zuckerberg has continued to push his vision for a more privacy-focused facebook ahead of its annual developer conference this week.

Thanks for watching today’s episode of tech feed. If you liked this video be sure to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel. And let me know how you feel about these fines in the comments. Are they fair, or should more be done to punish facebook for its mishandling of data? See you next time.

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