FTC reportedly approves $5B settlement with Facebook

A Facebook logo and

The multi-billion-dollar settlement draft, details of which appeared in the U.S. mainstream media this afternoon ahead of any official word from the FTC or Facebook, will be the watchdog's largest in its history.

Facebook has earmarked $3 billion for a potential fine and said in April it was anticipating having to pay up to $5 billion. However, it looks like it will need to figure out a way to get $2 billion more. While the cause of ...

The FTC's investigation into Facebook began more than a year ago, after the data of millions of users of the social media site wound up in the possession of Cambridge Analytica, a firm assisting with Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Allegedly, this data was used to help sway the 2016 US presidential election.

The Cambridge Analytica breach came as one of many leaks for the social-media giant, only adding to the FTC's grievances. Democrats on the commission were "pushing for tougher oversight", the Journal wrote.

The $5 billion fine still needs to be OK'd by the Department of Justice, but DOJ "rarely" rejects FTC settlements, the New York Times reported. The probe has focused on whether the sharing of data and other disputes violated a 2011 consent agreement between Facebook and the regulator.

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While the deal resolves a major regulatory headache for Facebook, the Silicon Valley firm still faces further potential anti-trust probes as the FTC and Justice Department undertake a wide-ranging review of competition among the biggest USA tech companies.

If the reports of the deal are true, and if the settlement is accepted by both sides and approved, Facebook will have to cough up $5bn, which is at the upper end of what the Silicon Valley web giant was expecting.

Facebook declined to comment on the status of those probes. If the FTC is seen as traffic police handing out speeding tickets companies profiting off breaking the law, then Facebook and other will continue to push the boundaries. And it collected call and text logs from phones running Google's Android system in 2015. Wall Street is seemingly relieved. For the first quarter of 2019, Facebook reported $15.08 billion in sales.

Shares finished at $204.87, up almost 2% on the day, and have reached their highest level in almost a year. Cicilline leads the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, which is pursuing a bipartisan investigation of the big tech companies' market dominance.

Facebook's legal troubles are far from over, though. The board also includes Facebook's other top executive, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

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