A report today says that a rumored $5 billion Facebook fine could be confirmed this week, with the U.S. Department of Justice signing off on the proposal by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Suggestions that the social network would face a record fine date back to January, with Facebook setting aside at least $3 billion to pay the penalty. Wall Street Journal sources subsequently said that the amount would be around $5 billion, but that the FTC needed to get agreement from the Justice Department before announcing it.
That was expected to be a formality, however.
The matter has been moved to the Justice Department’s civil division, and it is unclear how long it will take to finalize, the person said. Justice Department reviews are part of the FTC’s procedure but typically don’t change the outcome of an FTC decision.
Reuters today suggests that this agreement has been obtained, and that the formal announcement is now imminent.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is expected to announce a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook Inc as early as this week of its investigation into the social media company’s handling of user data, two sources briefed on the matter said on Monday.
Despite the reputed Facebook fine dwarfing any previous one — the existing record was a $22.5 million fine imposed on Google — not everyone thinks it goes far enough.
Some in Congress have criticized the reported $5 billion penalty, noting Facebook in 2018 had $55.8 billion in revenue and $22.1 billion in net income. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said last week the fine should be “$50 billion.”
They may take comfort from the fact that the fine won’t be the end of the matter, however.
The settlement is expected to include government restrictions and oversight on how Facebook treats user privacy.
Details are not yet known, but Facebook will have to agree to specific rules on what it can and cannot do with user data as a condition of the matter being concluded.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.