US Regulators Approve $5bn Facebook Fine Over Privacy Violations

13 July 2019, 08:02 | Updated: 13 July 2019, 08:48

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Picture: Getty

US regulators have voted to approve a fine of 5 billion dollars for Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica row.

The Federal Trade commission (FTC) has been investigation allegations that British data firm Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the personal data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

Whistleblowers said that the firm used an app, disguised as a personality survey, to get permission from users to access information, sparking an investigation as to whether the firm had violated rules on 'express consent'.

The $5bn (£3.9bn) fine will be the biggest the FTC has levied on a technology company, with the social media giant earning nearly 56 billion dollars in revenue last year.

Last year the Information Commissioner's Office in the UK fined Facebook half-a-million for the "serious breach of data protection law".

At the time, a spokesperson for Facebook said: "While we respectfully disagree with some of the ICO's findings, we have said before that we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and taken action in 2015."

The information taken from users was used to aid Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign.

The internet firm, nor the FTC, has commented on the latest fine.

The FTC began its investigation in March last year, and focussed on whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement in which it is required to clearly notify users and gain "express consent" to share their data.