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FTC Slaps Facebook with $5 Billion Fine Over Repeated Privacy Violations

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After a years-long investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal and other privacy breaches, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has today slapped Facebook with a historic $5 billion fine for deceiving its users and “undermined” choices it made to protect their data, The Washington Post is reporting.

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In addition to paying the largest fine in U.S. history for a privacy violation, the social media giant has also agreed to significant oversight of its business practices by the U.S. government as part of the settlement. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other designated officers of Facebook will need to certify that the company is taking steps to protect user privacy. 

“Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons

The Order imposes significant new privacy obligations on Facebook. For example, it requires greater oversight of third-party developers, including a requirement to terminate developers’ access to users’ information if they fail to certify that they are in compliance with Facebook’s platform policies or fail to justify their need for specific user data. Facebook must also enforce its platform terms against app developers solely on the basis of the severity of the violation and without regard to the financial benefit that flows to Facebook from the relationship.

Under the new rules, Facebook will also be required to obtain affirmative consent to create a new facial recognition model for its platform. You can read the FTC’s statement in full at this link.

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