Facebook could be fined up to $2 trillion dollars if the social media giant is found to be in violation of the consent decree, as it pertains to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
But let’s back up a bit… Facebook is making headlines for all the wrong reasons as the UK-based political consulting firm is being accused of using the user data of 50 million individuals to influence the 2016 US presidential election. Although Cambridge Analytica denies any wrongdoing, thorough investigations are underway on both sides of the pond.
This all stems back to the Federal Trade Commission‘s consent decree which firmly states users must give consent before any data about them is allowed to be shared with third parties. This doesn’t include private profile information, which should remain private.
Not only did Cambridge Analytica allegedly receive data about Facebook users, but also their friends which may not have agreed to give consent. Consent by association is simply not consent in the eyes of the FTC’s consent decree.
If Facebook is found to be in fault for the data breach, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team could be held responsible. According to Hypebeast, if the FTC were to treat each potential violation individually — that $40,000 fine, times 50 million, could rack up to $2 trillion.