The Federal Trade Commission confirmed Monday that it’s investigating Facebook and its data policies following reports that the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica accessed personal information of 50 million Americans without their knowledge.
Here is the full statement provided by the FTC:
The FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers. Foremost among these tools is enforcement action against companies that fail to honor their privacy promises, including to comply with Privacy Shield, or that engage in unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers in violation of the FTC Act. Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements. Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.
The FTC’s investigation is the most substantial legal and monetary threat to Facebook since its inception in 2004. The Washington Post reports that it could result in the U.S. government hitting Facebook with a massive fine.
The company’s stock took a massive hit last week following several reports that the company had mishandled the private data of its users. It’s now facing tough questions from Congress, UK Parliament and even individual counties within states. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also says the company is conducting its own investigation into the matter.
Several news outlets had reported on the FTC investigation last week, but the FTC did not officially confirm it until Monday. Facebook reached a settlement with the FTC in 2011 for failing to keep privacy promises.