Former Federal Trade Commission officials say that Facebook Inc. appears to have breached a 2011 consent agreement to safeguard users’ personal information and may be facing hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.
The agency could fine Facebook up to US$40,000 per violation per day — which could add up quickly with millions of users involved — if it finds the social media giant broke its earlier promises to protect user data, they say.
“If I had to bet, they will find violations,” said Jessica Rich, a former head of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau.
“The penalty could potentially be huge,” because each user adversely affected could be considered a violation, said Rich, now vice president of consumer policy and mobilization for Consumer Reports. “The FTC is unlikely to get billions,” Rich said. “It could get hundreds of millions.”