Facebook is set to be fined a record US $5 billion in the United States following an ongoing investigation over bad privacy practices.
The country’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 3:2 to approve a $5 billion settlement with Facebook to end the investigations into the companys privacy practices. The amount is the largest penalty ever assessed against a tech company that broke a past promise to the government to improve its privacy practices.
Follow the approval vote, the matter will go to the US Department of Justice to finalise the settlements. There is a possibility of the fine being rejected but this has reportedly rarely happened.
Said a former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection:
It’s quite a substantial amount of money, and it sets a baseline [for] the Googles and Microsofts and Apples and the Twitters of the world.
Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute who specializes in monopoly power said the fine is not significant at all and the equivalent of a parking ticket to the social media giant:
This isn’t a fine, it’s a favor to Facebook, a parking ticket which will clear them to conduct more illegal and invasive surveillance. Congress should start defunding the FTC and move the money to state enforcers like Karl Racine who believe in enforcing the law.
The news sent the company’s share price jumping more than 1%. Facebook had more than $15B in revenue in the first three months of 2019.