Facebook hit with additional $100 million fine for 'misleading disclosures' about data misuse in wake of Cambridge Analytica scandal

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty ImagesFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook has agreed to pay $US100 million to federal regulators for making “misleading disclosures” about its data being misused in the years after it knew that Cambridge Analytica had gotten ahold of user data.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday it had settled with the tech giant for $US100 million. The fine comes hand-in-hand with the Federal Trade Commission’s “unprecedented” $US5 billion penalty served to Facebook over its handling of user data following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

“For more than two years, Facebook’s public disclosures presented the risk of misuse of user data as merely hypothetical when Facebook knew that a third-party developer had actually misused Facebook user data,” the SEC said in its press release.

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Facebook just got clobbered with a record $US5 billion penalty over the Cambridge Analytica data breach

The SEC alleges that Facebook knew back in 2015 that data analytics company Cambridge Analytica had collected personal information on up to 87 million users, but didn’t disclose the breach for more than two years after the fact. News of Cambridge Analytica’s actions didn’t hit the media and the public until a whistleblower disclosed the incident in March 2018.

Instead of warning investors that user data was misused, Facebook relied on hypotheticals, stating that “users’ data may be improperly accessed, used or disclosed,” the SEC alleges.

Facebook will pay the $US100 million fine “without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations.”

In addition to the SEC’s $US100 million fine and FTC’s $US5 billion penalty, the US government also sued Facebook on Wednesday “to hold Facebook accountable for its failure to protect consumers’ privacy.”

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