Federal regulators investigating Facebook's (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report  serial indifference towards protecting users' data, are considering sanctioning Mark Zuckerberg, the social media giant's chairman and CEO, according to a published report late Thursday.

The FTC is considering the move amid ongoing discussions with the company to settle the investigation which was launched in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed sources.

The action would in part be an effort to send a message to Silicon Valley's high profile executives that they can be held accountable for mishandling customers' information, according to the report.

On Thursday Facebook acknowledged that 1.5 million new users had their email contacts uploaded without their knowledge since May 2016.

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The Cambridge Analaytica case involved a political consulting firm funded by right-wing contributors, including Trump adviser Steve Bannon, and hired by the Trump presidential campaign. The company gained access to personal data of 50 million Facebook users as a way to gain information to be used to influence voting patterns.  

Facebook is expected to report earnings of $1.61 a share on sales of $15 billion after the market closes Apr. 24, based on a FactSet survey of 38 analysts. In the same period a year ago the company posted earnings of $1.69 a share on sales of $12 billion.

The stock has risen 18.9% since the company last reported earnings on Jan. 30.

Facebook is currently trading at a price-to-forward-earnings ratio of 22.5 based on the 12-month estimates of 42 analysts surveyed by FactSet.

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