Brokered in 2011, the FTC’s consent decree with Facebook requires the company to be more upfront with consumers about the data it collects and give them permission before it overrides their existing privacy settings. Facebook also is barred from misrepresenting what it does with users’ data, while submitting to 20 years of privacy checks.
Talks between Facebook and the FTC have intensified in recent weeks, as the agency’s investigation passed its one-year anniversary. Top Facebook officials, including General Counsel Colin Stretch, met individual Democratic and Republican commissioners last month, according to two additional sources familiar with the agency’s work, but not authorised to discuss a private probe.
While the FTC probes Facebook, a number of states’ attorneys general have embarked on their own investigations. The attorney general of the District of Columbia has filed a privacy lawsuit against the company.
Other agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, have investigated Facebook’s relationship with Cambridge Analytica. And a federal grand jury in March sent subpoenas to two tech companies with which Facebook struck data-sharing agreements, The New York Times reported, noting that the target of such a criminal probe remains unclear.