FTC Said to Reach $5 Billion Settlement With Facebook Over Privacy Issues

The fine would mark its biggest against a tech company

Image of Facebook headquarters sign at night
The vote marks the end of a probe that began early last year.
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The Federal Trade Commission has approved a $5 billion settlement with Facebook to end a probe into the company’s privacy practices that began after the Cambridge Analytica scandal revelations early last year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The agreement came down to a 3-2 vote that split along party lines with the three Republican commissioners backing the motion and the two Democrats holding out for tighter regulations, according to the Journal. The agreement is expected to also include restrictions on Facebook’s data collection policies.

If approved by the Justice Department—a process that rarely results in changes to the decision—the fine would mark by far the FTC’s biggest penalty ever imposed on a tech company. The previous record was set in 2012 when Google paid to $22.5 million over its own privacy violations.

Spokespeople for Facebook and the FTC both declined to comment on the report.

Facebook chief financial officer David Wehner previously said in an April earnings report that the company had factored a $3 billion loss into its expenses for the quarter to account for the expected FTC penalty, conceding that the fine could reach as high as $5 billion.

The FTC first opened its investigation after it was revealed in March of last year that Facebook had exposed personal data associated with as many as 87 million users to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. The agency said the access was a violation of a 2012 pact in which Facebook agreed to notify users before sharing their data with third parties.

Facebook’s stock was up close to 2% for the day when the market closed and continued to climb slightly in after-hours trading.