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Facebook hit with record billion-dollar fine over privacy scandals

Facebook. Image: Getty

Facebook has been hit with a US$5 billion (AU$7.17 billion) fine following a major privacy scandal in early 2018.

Levied by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the fine is the largest the FTC has ever directed at a tech company. However, it’s unlikely to severely dent the social media giant which made around US$56 billion in revenue in 2018.

Additionally, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will receive more direct liability and must certify Facebook’s compliance with privacy restrictions. If he doesn’t do this, or Facebook provides false certifications, the CEO could face criminal or civil penalties.

Facebook will also be subject to significantly enhanced government oversight.

The fine concludes a prolonged investigation into Facebook’s repeated privacy violations, following reports that Facebook was engaging with political consultancy and data mining firm Cambridge Analytica.

The firm had ties to the Trump presidential election campaign and used a quiz app to collect data on 87 million Facebook users including their names and personal details.

“Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement.

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