Facebook $5 Billion U.S. Privacy Settlement Approved by FTC

Facebook $5 Billion U.S. Privacy Settlement Approved by FTC

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved a record privacy settlement against Facebook requiring the company to pay about $5 billion to resolve an investigation stemming from the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, according to Bloomberg.

The FTC’s settlement was approved by a vote of 3-2, according to two people familiar with the matter. It caps a probe that opened in March 2018 after news that Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm hired by President Donald Trump’s campaign, obtained user data from a researcher who created a personality quiz app on the social network.

The FTC’s settlement, the largest privacy fine in the agency’s history, 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. The mishandling of data has spurred efforts in Washington to pass legislation to better protect the personal information collected by the nation’s technology firms before a window closes ahead of the 2020 presidential campaign.

While the FTC settlement removes a major burden weighing on the company, Facebook is still grappling with regulatory scrutiny on a host of other fronts. European Union officials are pursuing multiple data-protection investigations, while U.K. antitrust authorities are examining the company’s dominance in digital advertising.

In the U.S., the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission opened investigations related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook declined to comment on the status of those probes. Separately, the attorney general for Washington, D.C., has sued the company, claiming it failed to safeguard users’ data. Other state attorneys general are also investigating.

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