FILE - In this March 29, 2018 file photo, the logo for social media giant Facebook, appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square. Facebook may be close to putting a Federal Trade Commission investigation behind it. But it faces a variety of other probes in Europe and the U.S., some of which could present it with even bigger headaches. While the $5 billion fine from the FTC, which Facebook has been expecting, is by far the largest the agency has levied on a technology company. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

More to come: FTC fine doesn’t spell closure for Facebook

Facebook has enjoyed more than a decade of unfettered growth as Silicon Valley’s golden child

Facebook may be close to putting a Federal Trade Commission investigation behind it. But it faces a variety of other probes in Europe and the U.S., some of which could present it with even bigger headaches.

While the $5 billion fine from the FTC, which Facebook has been expecting, is by far the largest the agency has levied on a technology company, the real worries for Facebook — and its investors and the companies that use it to advertise on its service — are the other restrictions and government oversight that might come with it. This goes for the other investigations as well, which span the globe from the European Union, Germany, and Belgium to New York, Canada and elsewhere.

Facebook has enjoyed more than a decade of unfettered growth as Silicon Valley’s golden child, trusted to regulate itself and keep its 2.4 billion users’ interests at heart.

Then came Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, fake news and the Cambridge Analyticascandal, in which a political data mining firm affiliated with the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump improperly accessed the personal data of as many as 87 million users.

READ MORE: Facebook expects to pay up to $5 billion for privacy breaches

Regulators, mainly in Europe but also in the U.S., perked up. And now Facebook faces the prospect of not only billions more in fines, but additional restrictions on its business.

— Irish Data Protection Commission

Ireland’s data regulator has launched an investigation of Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica data leak last year. At issue is whether the company complied with strict European regulations that went into effect in May 2018 covering data protection. Under the new rules, companies could be hit with fines equal to 4 per cent of annual global turnover for the most serious violations.

The probe could potentially cost Facebook more than $2.3 billion in fines based on its 2018 revenue, or more if it makes more money this year, which is all but certain. The commission, which handles online data regulation for the European Union, has nearly a dozen open investigations on Facebook that include its subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram, which could carry additional . Facebook says it is co-operating with the investigations.

— U.S. Housing and Urban Development

The U.S. government charged Facebook with high-tech housing discrimination in March for allegedly allowing landlords and real estate brokers to systematically exclude groups such as non-Christians, immigrants and minorities from seeing ads for houses and apartments.

The civil charges filed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development could cost the social network millions of dollars in penalties. More important, they’re already affecting the company’s business model — its ability to target ads with near-surgical precision. By its nature, this sort of targeting excludes some people and includes others. And that’s not always legal.

The charges came despite changes Facebook announced just a week earlier to its ad targeting system. The company had agreed to overhaul its targeting system and abandon some of the practices singled out by HUD to prevent discrimination, not just in housing listings but in credit and employment ads as well. The move was part of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union and other activists. But HUD didn’t join the settlement. Facebook says it continues to work with civil rights experts on the issues.

— Canada’s privacy czar

In more fallout from Cambridge Analytica, Canada’s privacy head announced in April that he is taking Facebook to court after finding that lax privacy practices allowed personal information to be used for political purposes.

A joint report from privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien and his British Columbia counterpart said major shortcomings were uncovered in Facebook’s procedures. It called for stronger laws to protect Canadians. Facebook says it is taking the investigation seriously.

— U.K., Belgium, Germany

In another October, British regulators slapped Facebook with a fine of 500,000 pounds ($644,000) — the maximum possible — for failing to protect the privacy of its users in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company said it is appealing the fine, so the matter is still, technically, unresolved.

The Belgian Data Protection Authority and Germany’s Federal Cartel office are also looking into Facebook’s data collection practices.

— Washington D.C., state attorneys general

If the federal investigations weren’t enough, Facebook also faces local government bodies. Attorneys general for Washington, D.C. , and California are looking into Cambridge Analytica, while the New York attorney general is investigating the company’s unauthorized collection of 1.5 million users’ contact lists. Facebook said that it is working with the New York attorney general’s office and that the collection was unintentional. It also says it is co-operating with the other attorneys general in their probes.

— FBI, SEC

Though the scope of their involvement with the FTC investigation is unclear, Facebook has confirmed that it has received questions from the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission over Cambridge Analytica and that it is co-operating with the inquiry.

Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Blackfalds RCMP officer’s firearm discharged in struggle

Red Deer and Sylvan Lake RCMP assist after police vehicle stolen

Sylvan Lake RCMP assist Red Deer, Blackfalds in major drug bust

RCMP arrest six and seize drugs, cash, firearms and vehicles in drug trafficking investigation

Red Deer-Lacombe MP, other Conservative MPs meet with AB justice minister

Calkins said the justice system is a revolving door for criminals targeting rural areas

UPDATE: Sylvan Lake neighbourhood flooded after water main break

Crews are out now repairing the break, though no time of completion is known at this time.

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Rebels win two straight heading into Christmas break

Two third period goals give Red Deer 3-1 win over Swift Current

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Two adults, two youths from Maskwacis charged in ATV, gun theft

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Break, Enter & Theft and Weapons Offences - Arrests

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

‘He was good for the West:’ Sadness, surprise in Saskatchewan over Scheer

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and his predecessor, Brad Wall, both thanked Andrew Scheer

Johnson claims Brexit mandate with new conservative majority

Conservative Party wins 365 seats in the House of Commons

Couple who bought $120k banana duct-taped to wall say artwork will be ‘iconic’

Pair compared it to Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans,’ which was initially ‘met with mockery’

Most Read