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WASHINGTON — On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the Federal Trade Commission is considering imposing a “record-setting” fine against Facebook for violating a consent decree it struck with the government in 2011 to protect the privacy of its users’ personal data.

In 2018, news broke that Facebook had transferred the data of tens of millions of Facebook users to the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which provided services for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

It’s unclear how the government shutdown affects the timing of the FTC’s alleged fine. The Commission’s offices have been closed since the lapse in federal funding.

Free Press Policy Counsel Gaurav Laroia made the following statement:

“If the rumors are true, a huge fine would be a long-overdue reaction by federal regulators to Facebook’s ongoing violations of its consent decree.

“This must be more than a slap on the wrist. The FTC needs to send a forceful message not just to Facebook but to the entire tech industry: There are real repercussions for continuing to exploit and deceive internet users. People need effective enforcement by the FTC to protect their rights — violating its orders can’t just be the cost of doing business.

“Serious consequences are the only way to curb Facebook’s predatory behavior and change the industry’s amoral pursuit of growth at the public's expense. This action should be the first of many taken by regulators and Congress in response to online platforms’ systemic abuse of their users.”

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