The Guardian: Facebook Will Be Fined $5 Billion for Privacy Violations
The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly voted to approve fining Facebook roughly bn to settle an investigation into the company’s privacy violations that was launched following the Cambridge Analytica revelations, The Guardian wrote.
The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, both citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, reported Friday afternoon that the settlement was approved by a 3-2 vote that broke along party lines, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. The justice department is expected make a final approval of the fine.
Facebook and the FTC declined to comment.
The FTC’s investigation was launched in March 2018 after the Observer revealed that the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica had improperly obtained the private information of more than 50m Facebook users. Facebook had agreed under a 2012 consent decree stemming from a previous FTC investigation into privacy concerns to better protect user privacy. The investigation centered on whether this decree had been violated.
The bn fine would be the largest ever levied by the FTC against a technology company, and the largest ever against any company for a privacy violation. It is at the upper limit of what Facebook said that it was expecting when it disclosed in April 2019 that it was nearing the end of negotiations with the FTC and expected a fine of between bn and bn.
As part of the agreement, Facebook will now reexamine the ways it handles user data, but the settlement will not restrict the company’s ability to share data with third parties, reports said.
David Cicilline, the Democratic congressman who chairs the House subcommittee on antitrust issues, reacted to the news on Twitter saying: “The FTC just gave Facebook a Christmas present five months early. It’s very disappointing that such an enormously powerful company that engaged in such serious misconduct is getting a slap on the wrist.”
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