The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will impose a $5bn fine on Facebook for a personal data breach, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal according to the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

If this figure is confirmed, it would be the highest penalty any technology company has ever paid. According to anonymous sources, the FTC decision was approved by a narrow 3-2 vote with the Republicans in favour and the Democrats against a fine they considered too low.

To put this into context, Facebook’s turnover in the first quarter of 2019 was $15bn, which caused Democratic Congressman David Cicilline to dismiss the fine as a “Christmas present.”

The fine is the culmination of an FTC investigation that began in March 2018, after the British press revealed that a UK-based consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, had obtained the personal data of more than 50 million Facebook users.

Besides the fine, Facebook will also have to submit a plan that details how it will handle personal data to avoid such data leaks in the future.

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