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Reports emerged today that the FTC is considering a fine against Facebook that would be the largest ever from the agency. Even if it were ten times the size of the largest, a $22.5 million bill sent to Google in 2012, the company would basically laugh it off. Facebook is made of money. But the FTC may make it provide something it has precious little of these days: accountability.
A Washington Post report cites sources inside the agency (currently on hiatus due to the shutdown) saying that regulators have “met to discuss imposing a record-setting fine.” We may as well say here that this must be taken with a grain of salt at the outset; that Facebook is non-compliant with terms set previously by the FTC is an established fact, so how much they should be made to pay is the natural next topic of discussion.
Scale - Violation - Summary - FTC - Settlement
But how much would it be? The scale of the violation is hugely negotiable. Our summary of the FTC’s settlement requirements for Facebook indicate that it was:
barred from making misrepresentations about the privacy or security of consumers’ personal information;
Consumers - Express - Consent - Changes - Privacy
required to obtain consumers’ affirmative express consent before enacting changes that override their privacy preferences;
required to prevent anyone from accessing a user’s material more than 30 days after the user has deleted his or her account;
Days - Years - Years - Audits - Privacy
required, within 180 days, and every two years after that for the next 20 years, to obtain independent, third-party audits certifying that it has a privacy program in place that meets or exceeds the requirements of the FTC order, and to ensure that the privacy of consumers’ information is protected.
How many of those did it break, and how many times? Is it per user? Per account? Per post? Per offense? What is “accessing” under such and such a circumstance? The FTC is no...
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