Oh, boy.

Here’s what David Vladeck, former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection who now teaches at Georgetown Law, told the Washington Post for a piece out Sunday:

I would not be surprised if at some point the FTC looks at this. I would expect them to.

That of course refers to the Facebook/ Cambridge Analytica debacle and needless to say, the optics around that situation have worsened materially over the past 24 hours (see here and here, for instance).

To be clear, the above-mentioned David Vladeck is a guy who knows what he’s talking about. Here’s WaPo reminding you who he is:

Two former federal officials who crafted the landmark consent decree governing how Facebook handles user privacy say the company may have violated that decree when it shared information from tens of millions of users with a data analysis firm that later worked for President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Such a violation, if eventually confirmed by the Federal Trade Commission, could lead to many millions of dollars in fines against Facebook, said David Vladeck, who as the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection oversaw the investigation of alleged privacy violations by Facebook and the subsequent consent decree resolving the case in 2011. He left that position in 2012.

On Sunday morning, Vladeck said in an interview with The Washington Post that Facebook’s sharing of data with Cambridge Analytica “raises serious questions about compliance with the FTC consent decree.”


Vladeck, now a professor at Georgetown Law, said violations of the consent decree could carry a penalty of $40,000 per violation, meaning that if news reports that the data of 50 million people were shared proves true, the company’s possible exposure runs into the trillions of dollars.

Concerns about possible regulatory problems and other potentially sticky clashes with government agencies and lawmakers were part of the reason Facebook had one of its worst days since 2012 on Monday.

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