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

Galtero Lara
Julio 13, 2019

The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly slapped Facebook with a record-setting $5 billion fine over its privacy lapses, including a massive data leak to political research firm Cambridge Analytica.

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.

The Journal said the 3-2 vote broke along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition to the settlement.

The FTC opened its Facebook probe in March 2018, following reports that Cambridge Analytica had hoovered up the personal data of almost 90 million Facebook users to better target them with political ads during the 2016 presidential election. The FTC revealed that Facebook pay will pay a $5 billion fine, the largest ever levied by the commission against a tech company.

In addition to the money involved (certainly not a fortune by the company's ultra-rich standards), the decision is expected to usher in a new era of restrictions on how Facebook handles users' personal information.

Since the Cambridge Analytica debacle erupted more than a year ago and prompted the FTC investigation, Facebook has vowed to do a better job corralling its users' data.

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The settlement still needs to be finalized by the Justice Department's Civil Division and a final announcement could come as early as next week, the source said.

Facebook and the FTC declined to comment. Nevertheless, its controls have remained leaky. "It's a relief for the Street, which was fearing the FTC situation was going to become a much broader inquiry with ramification beyond just a fine".

Facebook shares finished the day up 1.8 percent, at $204.87.

"This closes a dark chapter and puts it in the rearview mirror with Cambridge Analytica", said Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives. "Now, the Street can breathe a little easier".

The announcement of this Facebook fine is the culmination of nearly a year-and-a-half of investigations into the company, which included a heavily-publicized testimony in front of Congress by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Cicilline leads the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, which is pursuing a bipartisan investigation of the big tech companies' market dominance.

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