With Facebook’s privacy practices being investigated, it’s a good time to ask how much the company could potentially be fined. According to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Facebook will be investigated to see if they engaged in ‘unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers’. It’s possible that Facebook has violated a 2011 consent decree with the FTC that included fines of up to $40,000 per violation. For 50 million Facebook users, that would be a possible fine of trillions of dollars.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is also investigating the incident for possible breach of EU laws. Currently, the maximum penalty the ICO can impose is £500,000, which is set to go up to a maximum of €20 million once the General Data Protection Regulation comes into force. For now, we will have to wait and see what the investigations conclude and how the authorities decide to handle penalties for any breaches.