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Facebook Faces ‘Record-Setting’ Fine Over Privacy Violations: Report

Facebook also admitted a security breach in September last year that impacted nearly 50 million users

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook is facing a “record-setting” fine from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its handling of user data and privacy violations.

According to a report in The New York Times citing sources late Friday, the FTC “is in the advanced stages of its investigation into whether Facebook violated privacy rules and is expected to seek large fines from the company”.

The highest financial penalty ever imposed by FTC was $22.5 million on Google in 2012 for privacy violations, and the Facebook fine is “expected to be in the excess of that”, according to The Washington Post.

In April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was called to testify before Congress after British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica gained access to data of nearly 87 million users without permission.

In December, Facebook refuted a New York Times report that claimed it allowed large technology companies and popular apps like Netflix or Spotify access to its users’ personal information.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

Facebook said it did not give large tech companies access to people’s data without their permission as its integration partners “had to get authorisation from people”.

Another New York Times report in late December claimed that thousands of Facebook content moderators rely on inaccurate and disorganised information to determine what content to allow or remove from its platform, accusing the platform of being “ad hoc”, “disorganized”, “secretive”, and doing things “on the cheap”.

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Facebook also admitted a security breach in September last year that impacted nearly 50 million users.

The FTC and Facebook are yet to comment on the report. (IANS)

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Vodafone Quits Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency Project: Report

The Libra project, which is still in development, aims for the launch of its first version this year

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Vodafone logo. Pixabay

Vodafone has become the latest big player who have decided to quit Facebook’s controversial Libra cryptocurrency project.

Vodafone joins PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Mercado Pago, eBay, Stripe and Booking Holdings in withdrawing from the controversial project — and is the first company to exit after the Libra Association was formed in October last year, coindesk reported on Tuesday.

The companies left owing to concerns about heightened regulatory scrutiny.

“We can confirm that Vodafone is no longer a member of the Libra Association. Although the makeup of the Association members may change over time, the design of Libra’s governance and technology ensures the Libra payment system will remain resilient,” the Libra Association said in a statement.

“The Association is continuing the work to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of the Libra payment system.”

Despite top-notch firms pulling out, Facebook and 20 partner organisations formally joined the digital currency Libra project in Geneva in October.

The Libra Association said that more than 1,500 entities have expressed an interest in joining the digital currency project.

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Representations of virtual currency are displayed in front of the Libra logo in this illustration picture. VOA

Several US senators have opposed Facebook’s digital coin, arguing that the social networking giant has been irresponsible with user data privacy. They have even called the digital cryptocurrency Libra “delusional” and “dangerous”.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in October about Libra, defending the idea, but acknowledging the struggles left to overcome.

Libra has failed in its current form, according to the President of Switzerland.

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In a media interview, Swiss President and Finance Minister Ueli Maurer stated that Libra does not have a chance of being successful “because the basket of currencies that is deposited in this currency is not accepted by the national (central) banks”.

“The project in this form has actually failed,” Maurer was quoted as saying.

The Libra project, which is still in development, aims for the launch of its first version this year. (IANS)