The report suggests that the agreement would be the biggest penalty the FTC has ever imposed for violations of privacy, although it still requires approval from the Department of Justice before it is finalized.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, July 12, that US regulators have approved a $5 billion penalty to be imposed on Facebook to settle a probe into the privacy and data protection lapses of the social network.
The newspaper said the settlement was approved by the Federal Trade Commission in a 3-2 vote, with the two Democratic representatives of the consumer protection agency dissenting.
The agreement, which would be the biggest punishment ever imposed by the FTC for violations of privacy, still requires permission from the Department of Justice before it is completed, according to the report. Although details have not yet been published, restrictions on how Facebook can use private information will probably be included in the agreement.
The consumer group Public Knowledge’s Charlotte Slaiman believes that the restrictions are unlikely to be excessively harsh.
The settlement would be in line with Facebook’s estimate previously this year when it said it is expected to pay $3 billion to $5 billion for legal settlements. The fine is very unlikely to damage Facebook, which reportedly recorded income gains of $2.4 billion that rose 26 percent to $15.1 billion in this year’s first three months.