Recent privacy scandals could cost Facebook trillions of dollars, depending on the conclusions of the investigation that the United States Federal Trade Commission is presently leading against the social media giant, The Washington Post estimates. While the company is unlikely to see a thirteen-digit fine, many industry watchers are predicting that any potential violations could amount to penalties nearing a billion dollars, citing Facebook's massive scale and the unprecedented nature of various privacy breaches that the company possibly did little to stop prior to 2015. The Cambridge Analytica controversy is at the center of the recently emerged issue but the American political consulting firm accused of misleadingly harvesting data of tens of millions of people in 2014 isn't the only company said to have utilized Facebook in such a manner.
Less than a month following the publication of a whistleblower account that accused Cambridge Analytica of compromising a large number of Americans and millions of people from other parts of the world, Facebook already banned several other firms suspected of data harvesting. While sharing data collected via Facebook APIs with third parties has been forbidden by Facebook's terms of service three years back, the world's largest social media network apparently did little to police developers and make sure they're actually adhering to those rules in the following years, as per recent reports. Facebook is now cracking down on such misuse in a more active manner and already announced measures meant to limit third-party access to any user data collected via its platform.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is presently in Washington where he's set to attend two congressional hearings on the matter over the next 24 hours, having already repeatedly apologized for recent estimates, vowing to do more to help the company mature and actively combat potential misuse of its platform instead of continuing to pursue a reactionary policy waiting for privacy violations to happen. The firm still won't be changing its core business model or offer users a subscription tier that would allow them to opt out of all data sharing programs ran on its network, COO Sheryl Sandberg indicated last week.