NEWS15 July 2019

US regulator to fine Facebook $5bn – reports

Data analytics News North America Privacy

US – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reportedly approved fining Facebook around $5bn over privacy issues.

Person holding phone with Facebook login screen

The fine would settle the FTC’s investigation into the social network’s handling of user data, which began after the Cambridge Analytica revelations emerged.

The probe focused on whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement with the FTC around gaining users’ ‘express consent’ to share their data.

Facebook had already set aside $3bn to cover the probable loss from the FTC’s investigation, estimating that the fine would be between $3bn and $5bn, according to the company’s first quarter financial statement. Facebook’s revenue for the first quarter was $15.1bn and its net income was $2.43bn. 

The settlement would be the largest penalty issued by the FTC to a technology company. However, David Cicilline, a Democrat and chair of a congressional antitrust panel, described it as “a Christmas present five months early”. Writing in a series of tweets, he added: “This fine is a fraction of Facebook’s annual revenue. It won’t make them think twice about their responsibility to protect user data.” 

Facebook shares went up by 1.8% following the news, according to Reuters.


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