Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced it had reached a settlement deal with Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica scandal (via CNBC). The FTC revealed that Facebook will pay a $5 billion fine, the largest ever levied by the commission against a tech company.
The announcement of this Facebook fine is the culmination of almost a year-and-a-half of investigations into the company, which included a heavily-publicized testimony in front of Congress by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook already set aside $3 billion in April of this year in anticipation of the fine. However, it looks like it will need to figure out a way to get $2 billion more.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal involved a political consulting firm accessing the private Facebook data of some 87 million users. Allegedly, this data was used to help sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Although this scandal is probably the largest and most famous privacy breach in Facebook’s history, the company has faced plenty of other issues related to user privacy before and since. It is unclear if there are investigations in the works related to these other problems that could result in even more Facebook fines.
The $5 billion penalties represent an enormous new record for the FTC, considering the second-largest fine its levied against a tech company was for Google when it had to pony up a mere $22.5 million in 2012.