Cambridge Analytica: US Regulators Approve $5bn Facebook Fine

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Facebook Inc

US regulators have approved a record $5bn (£4bn) fine on Facebook to settle an investigation into data privacy violations, reports in US media say.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating allegations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

The settlement was approved by the FTC in 3-2 vote, sources told US media.

The FTC began investigating Facebook in March 2018, following reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of tens of millions of its users.

The investigation focused on whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement under which it was required to clearly notify users and gain “express consent” to share their data.

Anonymous sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Friday that the $5bn fine was approved by the FTC in a 3-2 vote, which broke along party lines with Republican commissioners in favour and Democrats opposed.

Sources cited in other media also reported the same information.

The fine still needs to be finalised by the Justice Department’s civil division, and it is unclear how long this may take, the sources said.

Facebook and the FTC have not confirmed the reports, telling the BBC they had no comment.

However, the amount falls in line with estimates by Facebook, which earlier this year said it was expecting a fine of up to $5bn.

If confirmed, it would be the largest fine ever levied by the FTC on a tech company.

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