Facebook smacked with record $5 billion fine by FTC over privacy violations

Reported by The Wall Street Journal this afternoon, sources have shared that the FTC has approved a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook over privacy violations that will end its probe into the company that started over a year ago.

Hitting Facebook with this $5 billion settlement dwarfs the previous record penalty as Google paid $22.5 million to the FTC in 2012. Another wild way to look at this number, the $5B penalty is five times what Facebook paid to purchase Instagram seven years ago.

While the FTC probe was opened after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook had more privacy gaffes over the last year that affected millions of users.

While there were murmurs as far back as January of the FTC planning on making the number a record-setting fine for this settlement, Facebook only set aside $3 billion for the fine ahead of time, according to the WSJ.

The report notes that the deal will still need to be finalized by the Justice Department, but isn’t expected to change.

The 3-2 vote by FTC commissioners broke along party lines, with the Republican majority lining up to support the pact while Democratic commissioners objected, the people said. The matter has been moved to the Justice Department’s civil division and it is unclear how long it will take to finalize, the person said. Justice Department reviews are part of the FTC’s procedure but typically don’t change the outcome of an FTC decision.

In addition to the $5 billion, the settlement is expected to include privacy restrictions on how Facebook handles user privacy. Both the FTC and Facebook declined to comment to the WSJ on the matter.

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