USA regulators approve Facebook fine of about $5 billion

The FTC has voted to approve a fine of about US$5 billion for Facebook over privacy violations the Wall Street Journal reported today

The settlement is the largest privacy fine in the FTC's history and also marks the most significant action yet against Facebook over a series of mishaps that have compromised users' data and sent the company reeling from one crisis to another. If it is approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, the $5 billion fine would be the stiffest penalty ever assessed against a technology company.

The leading social network with more than two billion users worldwide has also been facing inquiries on privacy from authorities in USA states and regulators around the world. Numerous company's critics - including the two Democratic commissioners who voted against it - felt it didn't go far enough, pushing for the agency to actively rein in Facebook's abuses lest other companies follow its example. While the cause of ...

The FTC launched the investigation in March 2018 after reports emerged that tens of millions of Facebook users lost their private data with data analytics firm Cambridge Analytics. Allegedly, this data was used to help sway the 2016 USA presidential election.

The commission's 2011 consent decree with Facebook addressed a litany of deceptive practices by the social-media company. The two detractors were the FTC's two Democratic commissioners, who presumably felt that the settlement was not punitive enough.

The Journal suggested that the settlement will head to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for review.

Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced it had reached a settlement deal with Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica scandal (via CNBC).

In response, Facebook has since repeatedly vowed to do a better job corralling its users' data, but fell short of FTC expectations. If the FTC is seen as traffic police handing out speeding tickets companies profiting off breaking the law, then Facebook and other will continue to push the boundaries.

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.

Other leaky controls have also since come to light.

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

Wall Street appeared unfazed at the prospect of the fine. The fine, however, doesn't spell the end of Facebook's troubles.

Conservative figures were present at the conference, including Turning Point USA's Charlie Kirk, Trump-supporting duo Diamond and Silk, commentator Ben Shapiro, Josh Hawley, a Republican Senator who has demanded tighter regulations on tech companies to avoid censorship, Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe and others.

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