The US Federal Trade Commission has reportedly voted to approve a settlement with Facebook which will see the social networking giant fined $5 billion.
In 2016, information from tens of millions of Facebook users was improperly collected, without their consent in order to build a targeted political advertisements.
The firm said it expected and was prepared for the fine. In April the company said it had set aside $3bn for a fine but was prepared for $5bn.
The fine is relatively small compared to Facebook’s revenues. Valued at more than $580bn, Facebook made almost $56bn in revenue last year. Its net income in 2018 was $22.1bn.
Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman and US Congressman David Cicilline called the fine a “Christmas present five months early” on Twitter.
But the firm’s punishment extends beyond the financial.
US Lawmakers on both sides of the house are working on new privacy rules for large tech firms like Facebook.
US senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has echoed a call for the company to break up, first proposed by ex-Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes while former political leader and Facebook VP Nick Clegg defended the tech giant’s market dominance.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a wide-reaching investigation into the power that big tech firms such Facebook hold in the digital advertising sector.
Prime Ministerial candidate Boris Johnson has called for higher tax on Facebook.
Ireland’s data-protection office has more than 10 investigations against the firm underway, including for violations of GDPR which could result in billions more in fines.
France is also said to be working on new penalties against the social network for hate speech which remains on the platform for more than a day.