The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Facebook violated a government privacy agreement by allowing Cambridge Analytica to obtain personal data from users, according to a Bloomberg report.
Facebook accepted the agreement in 2011
Facebook accepted the agreement, known as consent decree, in 2011, after allegedly deceiving users about the amount of personal information they shared. The FTC argued that Facebook had deceived users by not explaining, among other problems, the amount of data received by third-party applications. As part of the agreement, Facebook agreed to rules governing the privacy of its users, including receiving express consent before using data beyond the privacy settings.
After the news last week that Cambridge Analytica obtained information on 50 million Facebook users through a seemingly innocuous application, as of 2014, some former FTC officials behind the 2011 order speculated yesterday at The Washington Post about whether Facebook had violated the decree. If the FTC finally decides that Facebook violated the agreement, the company could receive millions in fines, according to the Post, without mentioning even more public outrage at violating the historic privacy agreement.
Facebook did not respond immediately to a request for comments. The company is expected to tackle the scandal at an internal meeting this morning.