FTC Fines Facebook $5 Billion for Privacy Violations

Facebook will reportedly be fined a record $5 billion over privacy mishaps

The Federal Trade Commission has voted to approve a fine of roughly $5 billion against Facebook over user-privacy violations by the social media company that involved tens of millions of people, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter.

The Journal's report said that the FTC settlement will include "government restrictions on how Facebook treats user privacy", however, it remains unclear what those restrictions entail.

While the deal resolves a major regulatory headache for Facebook, the Silicon Valley firm still faces further potential anti-trust probes as the FTC and Justice Department undertake a wide-ranging review of competition among the biggest USA tech companies.

Whether or not you pay much attention to the stock market, you probably couldn't help but notice headlines today about Facebook, Inc. shares dropping dramatically due to issues involving user privacy.

The multi-billion-dollar settlement draft, details of which appeared in the USA mainstream media this afternoon ahead of any official word from the FTC or Facebook, will be the watchdog's largest in its history.

Facebook's settlement will now proceed to the Justice Department, which will review the FTC's decision and either sustain or challenge it.

Representatives for Facebook and the FTC didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who is leading a House Judiciary Committee antitrust investigation into big tech, chastised the alleged FTC settlement. It's very disappointing that such an enormously powerful company that engaged in such serious misconduct is getting a slap on the wrist.

For now, the specifics of the settlement remain largely unknown, except for the figure which is believed to be in the region of $5 billion. This fine is a fraction of Facebook's annual revenue. "It won't make them think twice about their responsibility to protect user data", he said.

While the FTC settlement removes a major burden weighing on the company, Facebook is still grappling with regulatory scrutiny on a host of other fronts.

The United Kingdom Information Commissioner's Office fined £500,000 in 2018 over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which also served as the largest fine the office authorized.

If the reports of the deal are true, and if the settlement is accepted by both sides and approved, Facebook will have to cough up $5bn, which is at the upper end of what the Silicon Valley web giant was expecting. It is not clear how long it will take to finalize.

Related:

Comments

Latest news

IEA sees oil market oversupplied in 2019 on USA production
Futures in NY rose as much as 0.7% after climbing 4.5% on Wednesday to close above $60 a barrel for the first time since May. Still, U.S. output is rising again after a brief drop from record levels, according to the EIA.

MS confirms 1st case of West Nile virus for 2019
Eliminate standing water around the home because that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. The disease killed nine people and caused serious illness in 95 in Iowa in 2018.

'Life-Threatening' Tropical Storm Barry Grinds Toward Louisiana
About 10,000 people in Plaquemines Parish on Louisiana's low-lying southeastern tip were ordered evacuated on Thursday. All levee floodgates were being closed, along with a giant surge barrier erected after Katrina.

North Korea will maintain nuclear arsenal for decades
Trump has repeatedly hailed the testing freeze as a sign of progress and did so again on Friday, also referring again to his personal chemistry with Kim Jong Un .

Mom jailed after sharing viral video of her daughter licking tongue depressor
Her soon-to-be ex-husband says he was horrified when he realized the girl in the video was his daughter. The video was later posted to Facebook and eventually caught the attention of authorities.

Other news