Facebook will have to pay a record $ 5 billion fine imposed by a US regulator for failures of the world's first social network for the protection of personal data, say several media Friday.
The out-of-court settlement, which has not been filtered, should also include restrictions on how Facebook uses personal data, says the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the regulator's decision.
The Justice Ministry must still give the green light to this agreement, adopted by the commissioners of the Federal Regulatory Agency (FTC) by 3 votes against 2, indicates the business daily, quoting a source familiar with the matter.
The stock market applauded with both hands: the stock reached its high of the year to end at nearly $ 205.
Investors argue that the restrictions will not be too severe, as indicated by the opposition of two Democratic commissioners to the decision while the three Republicans voted for.
In any case, this is the interpretation of the consumer advocacy association Public Knowledge.
"We do not yet know the essential aspects of the amicable settlement: does Facebook have to make any changes in its + business model + or in the way it does business?" Said Charlotte Slaiman, head of competition within the association.
The tone was more positive at the Center for Democracy and Technology: "This record fine shows the importance of data regulation in the digital age, and the FTC warned all companies to protect private information." said Nuala O'Connor, president of the NGO for the defense of online freedoms.
- Very valuable -
The personal data of its more than 2.7 billion monthly active users is the most valuable asset of Facebook, which collects and exploits them for immense advertising revenue thanks to a very refined targeting.
But it is because of the way these data are used that the social network has been in turmoil for two years and is facing a serious crisis of confidence.
The FTC's investigation aimed to determine whether Facebook had breached a 2011 settlement agreement in which it was already committed to the respect of personal data and transparency regarding their use.
It was opened after the breakup in March 2018 of the data leak scandal to the British firm Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook expected a fine of this order and announced late April to make provisions of $ 3 billion, although he said he may have to pay up to $ 5 billion.
This fine will barely scratch the financial health of the company co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg.
For its year 2018, Facebook posted an iron health with 22 billion dollars of profit for a turnover of 55 billion. And, even amputated provisions, net profit reached $ 2.43 billion in the first quarter.
- Dismantle -
But the agreement with the FTC should give a brief respite to Facebook. Elected officials or regulators shoot at the group that is the subject of lawsuits and investigations all over the place in several countries.
Faced with these attacks, the group tries to take the initiative. Its communication manager Nick Clegg called on 24 June governments to do more in terms of regulation of digital giants, whose practices are often questioned in particular on the protection of data or dissemination of false information.
"It is not up to private companies, large or small, to propose these rules, it is up to politicians democratically elected in the democratic world to do so," Clegg said.
But the voices calling for the dismantling of these giants become overpowering multiply.
Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg fifteen years ago in a dormitory at Harvard University, has even spoken out on it.
"It's time to dismantle Facebook" by separating the social network, its original activity, Instagram and WhatsApp applications, he wrote in the New York Times in early May, accusing Zuckerberg of having sacrificed the protection of the privacy of users in favor of the "click" and to have eliminated competition without qualms.
© 2019 AFP