The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) approved a $5 billion fine on Facebook on Friday, stemming from an investigation into the company's handling of private user data. The investigation was looking into allegations that Facebook shared personal data of over 87 million users with British analytical firm Cambridge Analytica. Regulators made a deal with Facebook in 2011, that if the company mishandled user data again, their holdings in the company could be in jeopardy.
The FTC found that Facebook did, in fact, mishandle user data, but declined to follow through on threats made in 2011. Once news of the $5 billion fine got out, Facebook's shares rose 1.8%, leading lawmakers to argue that the penalty was not nearly enough. The fine is "a Christmas present five months early," said Representative David Cicilline (D), chair of a congressional anti-trust panel. "The fine is a fraction of Facebook's annual revenue. It won't make them think twice about their responsibility to protect user data," he said.
Facebook's revenue was $2.43 billion in the first quarter of 2019, including $3 billion set aside to pay a potential FTC fine. Facebook is also facing bipartisan criticism for its planned cryptocurrency "Libra," raising concerns that it can be mishandled and misused, especially with Facebook's track record.