Facebook will have to pay a $5 billion fine over privacy concerns, according to the United States Federal Trade Commission. Facebook will also be expected to create an independent privacy committee that isn’t controlled by the Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg. This was sparked when Cambridge Analytica allegedly retrieved data from around 87 million Facebook users in an unacceptable manner.
“Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices,” said the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Joe Simons. “The magnitude of the $5 billion penalty and sweeping conduct relief are unprecedented in the history of the FTC. The relief is designed not only to punish future violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations. The commission takes consumer privacy seriously, and will enforce FTC orders to the fullest extent of the law.”
Data gathering through online quiz
The Federal Trade Commission started investigating the social media giant last year March after finding out that personal information was illegally taken from users through an online personality quiz. The data was apparently sold to Cambridge Analytica, and there were even rumours that the data might have been utilized to affect the United States presidential elections in 2016.
Even though just a little more than a quarter million users took the quiz, Canadian data consultant and former employee at Cambridge Analytica, Christopher Wylie, claims the data from around 50 million users – mostly in the United States – was taken through their friend networks without expressed consent.
Though Cambridge Analytica wasn’t the only ones that could access the users’ personal information. The data was collected using Facebook’s infrastructure during that period, and several other developers took advantage of it, however, they weren’t allowed to share the data with other parties. Facebook was fined roughly $625,000 (£500,000) by the United Kingdom’s data protection agency.