No matter how much Mark Zuckerberg may bluster otherwise, Facebook doesn’t care about protecting its users’ privacy. Thankfully, though, that breach of trust is going to cost the social media behemoth, and it’s going to cost them a bundle. Reporting on Facebook’s Q1 2019 earnings report, Daniel Howley of Yahoo Finance News reveals that the company is expecting to be levied a fine by the Federal Trade Commission somewhere between $3 and $5 billion.
The report published by Facebook includes the admission that:
In the first quarter of 2019, we reasonably estimated a probable loss and recorded an accrual of $3 billion in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into our platform and user data practices, which accrual is included in accrued expenses and other current liabilities on our condensed consolidated balance sheet.
While the fine hasn’t been officially announced, the writing down of $3 billion in the Q1 2019 earnings report is a tacit admission by Facebook officials of the amount. The FTC is slapping the large fine on Facebook over the company’s failure to let users know when their data and information was being used outside of the scope of the user agreement.
For those who argue that Facebook is a private company and users aren’t forced to sign up, understand that this kind of blatant violation of the user agreement is a level of corporate malfeasance that cannot be ignored. Due to the growing problem of identity fraud, we live in a world in which privacy is important. Yet, we also live in a world in which we increasingly surrender bits and pieces of our privacy for the privilege of engaging with technology. It’s important that the corporations with whom we trust personal information abide by the user agreements customers sign. Maybe this coming massive fine from the FTC will cause these companies to think twice before violating their users’ trust.