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Facebook Negotiating Multi-billion Dollar Fine With US Agency: Report

Facebook is currently being probed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the FTC and the Department of Justice

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

Facebook is negotiating a multi-billion dollar fine with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the social media giant’s past privacy practices.

According to a report in The Washington Post on Thursday, the specific amount is yet to be determined but it would be the largest fine the FTC has ever levied on a tech company.

“If talks break down, the FTC could take the matter to court in what would likely be a bruising legal fight,” said the report.

Facebook confirmed it was in discussions with the FTC but declined to comment further.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA
 The largest fine ever imposed by the FTC to safeguard consumers’ data was a $22.5 million penalty that Google paid in 2012.

The FTC opened its probe into Facebook in March 2018 after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that breached the privacy of 87 million users came into light.

“Facebook faces a moment of reckoning and the only way it will come is through an FTC order with severe penalties and other sanctions that stop this kind of privacy misconduct going forward,” Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut) was quoted as saying.

Consumer advocates have urged the FTC to fine Facebook exceeding $2 billion.

Washington DC’s top prosecutor Karl Racine has also sued Facebook in the first significant US move to punish the firm for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook is currently being probed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the FTC and the Department of Justice.

In the UK, the company was fined 500,000 pounds over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the maximum fine the British data regulator can impose.

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Bigger trouble may arise from the Irish data protection regulator, which is investigating Facebook for multiple admissions of security flaws, in what is being seen as the first major test of Europe’s new privacy rules as dictated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). (IANS)

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US Judge Orders Facebook to Disclose Malicious Apps’ Data: Report

The social networking giant found that the apps -- primarily social media management and video streaming apps -- retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API (application programming interface)

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

As part of a probe ordered in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal involving 87 million users, a US judge has ordered Facebook to hand over data of thousands of apps that violated its user privacy.

Facebook admitted last year that it suspended “tens of thousands” of apps for possible privacy violations.

A Massachusetts judge rejected the social networking giant’s attempts to withhold the key details from state investigators, The Washington Post said in a report on Friday.

“We are disappointed that the Massachusetts Attorney General and the Court didn’t fully consider our arguments on well-established law. We are reviewing our options, including appeal,” a Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone was quoted as saying in the report.

Maura Healey, the Democratic Attorney General of Massachusetts, said: “We are pleased that the Court ordered Facebook to tell our office which other app developers may have engaged in conduct like Cambridge Analytica.”

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FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

The state of Massachusetts launched the probe last September after Facebook admitted that it had suspended “tens of thousands” of apps on its platform as a result of its review on privacy practices launched following the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.

The review, launched in 2018, followed revelations that the political consultancy hijacked personal data on millions of Facebook users and included attorneys, external investigators, data scientists, engineers, policy specialists and others, according to a Facebook statement.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal resulted in a record-breaking, $5 billion fine for Facebook from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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In November 2019, Facebook revealed that at least 100 app developers may have accessed Facebook users’ data for months, confirming that at least 11 partners “accessed group members’ information in the last 60 days”.

The social networking giant found that the apps — primarily social media management and video streaming apps — retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API (application programming interface). (IANS)