US Watchdog Expected To Levy ‘Record Fine’ Against Facebook For Violation Of 2011 Settlement On User Data PrivacyFacebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A record penalty is likely to be levied against Facebook Inc. after a privacy investigation by the United States Federal Trade Commission is completed, said a person close to the developments. The investigation by the nation’s privacy watchdog was launched after a significant data breach was exposed in March, reports LiveMint.

A penalty is being levied against the social media titan for violating a settlement made with the agency in 2011 that required the company to take specific steps to protect users’ personal information. The gravity of the fine levied on Facebook could not be ascertained as it is not clear whether the agency has settled on how much to seek from the company and whether it will additionally require changes to Facebook’s sharing and data collection practices.

However, the likelihood of a fine seemed to indicate that officials have determined that there was a violation of the settlement made in 2011. The agency began the investigation after it was revealed that consulting firm Cambridge Analytica accessed the data of an estimated 70 million Facebook users in the United States. Meanwhile, Facebook has denied that the incident was a ‘violation’ of the settlement.

The Chairman of the FTC, Joe Simons, has come under immense pressure to drop the gauntlet on Facebook after a series of scandals in the company relating to data privacy. The incident has increased efforts in Washington to pass a comprehensive legislation to protect personal information collected by technology firms in the nation. Lawmakers have criticised the FTC for not doing enough to crack down on privacy violations with its limited authority.

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