BREAKING NEWS: Federal Trade Commission will investigate Facebook over privacy – knocking billions off the value of Mark Zuckerberg’s firm

Monday, March 26, 2018
By Paul Martin

Federal Trade Commission’s acting director announces privacy probe into Mark Zuckerberg’s embattled social network
Full-scale investigation could see it fined billions and announcement send its stock price plunging
FTC move comes after data-harvesting scandal which saw Cambridge Analytica take 50 million American users’ data without their knowledge
Latest blow to Facebook came after it was revealed to have recorded who people called and texted on Android phones

By FRANCESCA CHAMBERS
DAILYMAIL.COM
26 March 2018

The Federal Trade Commission has an open investigation into Facebook’s growing privacy scandal, it revealed Monday.

The regulator’s acting director, Tom Pahl, made the announcement in a statement which immediately send Facebook’s share price plunging.

He also raised the prospect of a massive fine for Mark Zuckerberg’s social network because it had entered into a consent decree in 2011 about the use of personal data and any breach of that can be punished by the regulator.

If the FTC finds Facebook violated terms of the consent decree, it has the power to fine the company thousands of dollars a day per violation, which could add up to billions of dollars.

The move represents a huge blow to Facebook, which has been plunged into crisis by the disclosure that Cambridge Analytica harvested the personal data of 50 million American users which was then used by the Trump campaign before the 2016 election to micro-target advertising.

Shares in Facebook fell from an opening price of $160.82 to as low as $150.36 in the minutes after the announcement was made.

The Monday morning move by the federal regulator is the most significant threat to Facebook to emerge out of its data-harvesting scandal.

The FTC has powers to fine, prosecute and regulate Facebook in its home in the United States.

Pahl said: ‘The FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers.

‘Foremost among these tools is enforcement action against companies that fail to honor their privacy promises, including to comply with Privacy Shield, or that engage in unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers in violation of the FTC Act.

‘Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements.

‘Accordingly the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook.

‘Today the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.’

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