A US privacy investigation by Facebook Inc., opened following a serious data breach in March, is likely to result in a record fine for the company, according to a report. a person close to the file.

The Federal Trade Commission, the country's leading privacy watchdog, is considering punishing the social media giant for violating a 2011 settlement with the agency, which forced the company to take a series of measures to protect the personal information of users, said the person who asked not to be named because the investigation is confidential. The probe may take several months, the person said.

The size of the fine Facebook could not be learned. It is also unclear whether the agency has decided how much it will ask the company based in Menlo Park, California, or whether it will also change Facebook's data collection and sharing practices.

Nevertheless, the likelihood of the sanction seems to indicate that the officials determined that there had been a violation of the 2011 regulation. The agency opened its investigation after hearing that the Cambridge Analytica political consulting firm had access to information. approximately 70 million Facebook users in the United States. The company has denied the opposite.

FTC President Joe Simons is increasingly in a hurry to pressure Facebook after a series of data privacy scandals in the company. The revelations galvanized efforts in Washington to enact comprehensive legislation to better protect personal information collected by the country's technology companies. Lawmakers and defenders blamed the FTC for failing to do enough to crack down on privacy violations, even with its limited authority.

The agency's previous record fine in a privacy action was imposed in 2012, when Google paid $ 22.5 million for falsely presenting users of the Safari Internet browser would not place advertising trackers known as cookies on their computers. The amount was tiny for Google, which reported a net profit of $ 10.7 billion that year.

The FTC and Facebook declined to comment on the investigation. The Washington Post had previously announced the fine and said the agency's five commissioners had met recently to discuss it.

The former head of the consumer protection division of the FTC said the fine could reach hundreds of millions of dollars. Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that it could reach billions. The survey is just one of the issues facing the social media giant in the United States. The District Attorney General of Columbia sued the company in December, while other states opened an investigation. Facebook said the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI were also investigating.

The FTC's 2011 consent decree with Facebook solved the problem, claiming that the company had deceived consumers by telling them that they could keep the data private, but allowing it to be shared and published.

The Commission's complaint included a litany of misleading practices, such as allowing wider dissemination of profile information such as photos, information and a workplace that a user would have restricted to "Just Friends" or "Friends". of my friends". Facebook also promised users that it would not do it. Avoid sharing personal information about them with advertisers when in fact the company was identifying advertisers who clicked on their ads or who they were intended to serve. Advertisers could then take steps to get detailed information about users, the FTC said.

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