Facebook facing $5 billion fine from FTC over privacy violations

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FILE – This March 29, 2018 file photo shows the Facebook logo on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York’s Times Square. Facebook says it plans to make advertisements for U.S. jobs and credit products searchable for all users. The databases expand on a legal settlement reached in March over discrimination blamed on Facebook’s highly customized ad-targeting. An internal civil rights report Facebook published Sunday, June 30, 2019 says that database will be ready by year’s end. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The FTC has voted to approve a fine of about $5 billion for Facebook over privacy violations. The report Friday cites an unnamed person familiar with the matter.

Facebook declined to comment; the FTC did not immediately respond to messages for comment. The report says the 3-2 vote broke along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition to the fine.

The Journal says the FTC report has been moved to the Justice Department for review. It is not clear how long it will take to finalize.

The fine would be the largest the FTC has levied on a tech company. But it won’t make much of a dent for Facebook, which had nearly $56 billion in revenue last year. The report did not say what else the settlement includes beyond the fine, though it is expected to include limits on how Facebook treats user privacy.

Since the Cambridge Analytica debacle erupted more than a year ago and prompted the FTC investigation, Facebook has vowed to do a better job corralling its users’ data. Nevertheless, its controls have remained leaky. For example, It also acknowledged giving big tech companies like Amazon and Yahoo extensive access to users’ personal data, in effect exempting them from its usual privacy rules. And it collected call and text logs from phones running Google’s Android system in 2015.

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