Dive Brief:

  • The Federal Trade Commission approved a $5 billion settlement with Facebook, as one of the latest steps in a year-long probe into the company’s responsibilities in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported Friday.
  • During its Q1 earnings call in April, Facebook projected it would face liabilities of somewhere between $3 billion and $5 billion in connection with the probe. As noted by Ars Technica, the amount represents roughly one month of revenue for Facebook, which brought in 55 billion in 2018
  • In addition to the financial obligations, the settlement will include additional government restrictions on how Facebook handles user data, according to the report. Terms of the restrictions were not immediately disclosed. 

Dive Insight:

The latest chapter in Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal symbolizes an escalation of government oversight on how thoroughly tech companies work to protect user data from unauthorized access.

The impact of the GDPR in the European Union, California’s California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and a handful of similar regulations in the works across the U.S. are indicative of mounting government involvement in the privacy space.

Financial impact aside, Facebook must contend with the reputational toll of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and subsequent breaches, including a tech flaw that exposed tens of millions of accounts in September.