Facebook has been doing major damage control since reports surfaced that Cambridge Analytica gained access to the personal records of some 50 million users. But as of Monday morning, the social media giant faces more trouble on the horizon as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that they have launched an investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices.
Adding insult to injury, waning confidence in the platform has manifested itself in the falling price of the company’s stock. CNN reported that for the first time since July 2017, Facebook stock has dropped another 5 percent, driving the price down below $150. This is a continuation of last week’s trend where the company took a 14 percent loss in per-share stock value.
The FTC’s acting director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Tom Pahl, confirmed that the agency has “substantial concerns” about the ways Facebook protects its consumers’ personal information. According to CNN, the FTC has launched a “non-public investigation” in an effort to learn more about their current privacy practices.
Cambridge Analytica is said to have ties to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The relationship has not only left Facebook users and others wondering how that personal information was used but also how Cambridge Analytica got their hands on it in the first place. The FTC’s probe is centered around whether or not Facebook is in violation of a prior agreement they had reached to protect consumers.
This isn’t the first time that Facebook has been accused of less-than-stellar privacy practices. The FTC has indicated that a 2011 complaint that they settled with the company required Facebook to get “express consent” from users before sharing their personal information with third-party apps.
The commission intends to hold them accountable if they have violated their legally-binding agreement. If found guilty, Facebook’s financial woes could continue. They could end up paying millions of dollars in fines and lose countless numbers of users and advertisers.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has offered an apology for the breach and has expressed a willingness to testify before Congress. He told CNN that he sees Facebook’s cooperation as a good thing because Congress has the power to answer many questions that are beyond Facebook’s scope.