Two dollars a face

It’s been reported that Facebook is closing in on two and a half billion users worldwide, so maybe this isn’t as impressive as it sounds:

US regulators have approved a record $5bn (£4bn) fine on Facebook to settle an investigation into data privacy violations, reports in US media say.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating allegations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

The settlement was approved by the FTC in a 3-2 vote, sources told US media.

Facebook and the FTC told the BBC they had no comment on the reports.

But of course they didn’t.


FTC began investigating Facebook in March 2018 following reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of tens of millions of its users.

The investigation focused on whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement under which it was required to clearly notify users and gain “express consent” to share their data.

And as always, politics rears its ugly head:

The $5bn fine was approved by the FTC in a 3-2 vote which broke along party lines, with Republican commissioners in favour and Democrats opposed.

The New York Times reported that the Democrats wanted stricter limits on the firm, while other Democrats have criticised the fine as inadequate.

Facebook’s revenues for 2018 came to about $55.8 billion.


  1. Fred Z »

    14 July 2019 · 8:35 am

    Gross revenue is an unfair number to quote. Net would be better and it has the advantage of making Facebook look just as bad.

    Facebook annual net income for 2018 was $22.111B, a 38.89% increase from 2017 where it was $15.92B, a 56.26% increase from 2016 where it was $10.188B, a 177.68% increase from 2015.

    However, I have long been opposed to corporate fines, which effectively fine the innocent shareholders while letting the guilty management off entirely. This is because the government is too lazy, stupid and careless to bother tracking down the actual perpetrators and fining them.

    Some group of individual Facebook employees intentionally or negligently did this and they should pay.

  2. McGehee »

    14 July 2019 · 10:34 am

    The shareholders are responsible for choosing management. Management is responsible for hiring and overseeing employees.

    If shareholders can’t be bothered to hold management accountable for its failure in overseeing employees, they shouldn’t own shares in that company.

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