Regulators Around the World are Circling Facebook

Dipayan Ghosh, a former economic adviser on tech issues during the Obama administration, said the conditions laid out in the F.T.C. order would also guide federal legislation.

“Enforcement actions have a broad impact on the entire industry. They can set norms,” Mr. Ghosh said.

The F.T.C. action foreshadows problems for Facebook across the Atlantic, where European regulators have sharply criticized the social media giant’s handling of user data, harmful influence on elections and vulnerability to the spread of extremist ideologies.

In Ireland, home to Facebook’s European headquarters, the company is facing several investigations into whether it is complying with European data protection laws. Just this week, the Irish Data Protection Commission started a fresh inquiry into Facebook exposing user passwords. Under European privacy law, Facebook could be fined up to 4 percent of global revenue, or about $2.23 billion.

British authorities last year gave Facebook the maximum possible fine of 500,000 pounds, worth about $645,000, for allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest the information of millions of users without their consent. The country is also considering naming a new internet regulator who could issue fines and hold individual executives legally liable for harmful content spread on their platforms.

In France, where the government has passed laws to stop the spread of misinformation on social media close to elections, officials are investigating Facebook’s content moderation policies.

And in Germany, which adopted an anti-hate speech law that requires Facebook to screen out posts considered harmful, antitrust authorities forced Facebook to adjust its data-collection policies after determining the company was exploiting its market dominance to profile its users and sell advertising.

The efforts are part of a broader effort to clamp down on social media around the world.

Ben Scott, a former State Department official in the Obama administration, said the global scrutiny represented “a massive wave of outrage that will crash straight into the central premise of the company’s business model.”

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