US regulator imposes $5 billion fine on Facebook over privacy probe

File photo of Mark Zuckerberg. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team Washington Jul 24, 2019, 06.29 PM (IST)

The US government today imposed $5 billion fine on Facebook as part of its privacy probe.

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.

The Federal Trade Commission said the penalty was the largest ever imposed on any company for violating consumers' privacy and one of the largest penalties ever assessed by the US government for any violation.

The FTC asked the social network company to "submit to new restrictions and a modified corporate structure."

The FTC voted 3-2 along party lines to adopt the settlement, which requires court approval.

The probe focused on whether Facebook's data-sharing violated a 2011 consent agreement between Facebook and the regulator which then widened to include other privacy allegations.

Facebook faces further scrutiny including anti-trust probes. 

The FTC said Zuckerberg or others filing a false certification could face civil and criminal penalties.

Facebook also is barred from asking for email passwords to other services when consumers sign up.

Facebook is barred from using telephone numbers obtained in a security feature, like two-factor authentication, for advertising and must get user consent if it plans to use data from facial recognition technology.

Facebook is set to report earnings on Wednesday with experts keen to watch its share prices today.