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

Oak Bay girls net senior volleyball Island championship

Claremont Secondary clams second place as both teams head to Provincials

SD63 strike officially ends with union’s vote to accept agreement

More than 7,000 Saanich and Peninsula students back to school Monday

Outrigger canoe teams race over two days to raise money for men’s health initiatives

WetDashe for men’s health highlights benefits of year-round sport on the West Coast

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Heritage Haunted House rakes in more than $10,000 to help fill children’s dreams

Spooky fundrasier has been scaring community for 13 years

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

Fisherman missing near Lake Cowichan’s Shaw Creek

Family is asking for everyone and anyone to keep their eyes open,… Continue reading

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Most Read