Facebook Slapped with $5 BILLION Fine for Privacy Breaches

Social media giant Facebook is set to be hit was a $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission for its massive privacy breaches, sources say.

The punishment is a result of the FTC’s investigation into Facebook’s part in the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to CNBC via the Wall Street Journal.

According to CNBC, the fine is the biggest one ever:

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The fine represents the largest ever imposed by the FTC against a tech company. Previously, the agency’s largest fine against a tech company came in 2012 when Google agreed to pay a $22.5 million penalty due to its privacy practices. The fine would represent approximately 9% of Facebook’s 2018 revenue.

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Despite the massive amount of money represented by the fine, some in Congress feel it does not hurt the social media giant enough to force it to change its ways.

Republican Congressman David Cicilline called the settlement “a slap on the wrist.”

“This fine is a fraction of Facebook’s annual revenue,” he said in a statement on Friday. “It won’t make them think twice about their responsibility to protect user data.”

Indeed, Facebook easily paid out a preemptive $3 billion ahead of the final fine determination just to get ahead of the pinch.

But Rep. Cicilline may be right. Facebook earned $47 billion in 2018 alone and is worth a whopping $585 billion… and shows no sign of slowing yet.

The Journal added that the FTC approved the settlement by a 3-2 vote along party lines with Republicans in favor and Democrats against.

Next the Department of Justice will review the decision to see if it passes legal muster.

CNBC further explains:

The FTC began probing Facebook in March 2018 following reports that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of 87 million Facebook users. The agency was concerned that Facebook had violated the terms of a 2011 agreement, which required Facebook to give users very clear notifications when their data was being shared with third parties.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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