In a statement released by the US Federal Trade Commission, it has been announced that Facebook will have to pay a record fine of $5 billion to settle a case over privacy concerns. This follows allegations that Cambridge Analytica obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users, which resulted in trust in the platform reaching an all-time low last year.
Following the investigation, the FTC went on to look at a range of other issues with the site’s privacy, including its use of facial recognition. The fine of $5 billion in the largest that’s ever been imposed on a company for violating the privacy of its customers.
FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in the statement: “Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices,” adding that the fine was imposed in order to “change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations”.
In addition to paying the large fine, Facebook will also have to, going forward, introduce an independent privacy committee. The committee will be responsible for monitoring Facebook’s use of consumer data, and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg will have no control over it.
In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg commented that the company had “a responsibility to protect people’s privacy. He added that the firm would be making changes to the way it is run and how products are developed, and it will also be reviewing its technical systems to try and remove any potential privacy risks in the future.
“Overall, these changes go beyond anything required under US law today. We expect it will take hundreds of engineers and more than a thousand people across our company to do this important work. And we expect it will take longer to build new products following this process going forward,” he added.