The Federal Trade Commission has approved a nearly $5 billion settlement with Facebook over the social media giant’s 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to several reports.
The settlement, which still has to be finalized by the US Justice Department's civil division, would be larger than the record-setting $22.5 million the FTC imposed on Google in 2012.
Media reports said the settlement was backed in a 3-2 vote, with Republicans in favor of the deal and Democrats against it.
Earlier this year, reports indicated the FTC was considering imposing a “record-setting fine” against Facebook for allegedly failing to protect users' data and for violating a legally binding agreement with the US government to protect the privacy of the data.
The FTC investigation began more than a year ago after reports that Facebook shared personal data of 87 million users with Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that worked on President Trump’s 2016 campaign. The FTC investigation centered on whether that lapse violated a 2012 consent decree with the agency under which Facebook agreed to better protect user privacy.
In October 2018, the UK’s data protection watchdog fined Facebook 500,000 pounds, or $645,000, over the Cambridge Analytica scandal for “serious breaches of data protection law.” The fine was the maximum allowable under the laws which applied at the time the incidents occurred, according to the UK’s Information Commissioner's Office.