Facebook expects FTC fine of up to $5bn in privacy investigation
Facebook expects FTC fine of up to $5bn in privacy investigation
Facebook Anticipates It Will Have to Pay FTC Up to $5 Billion for Privacy Violations
25 April, 2019, 06:25
Men are silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Nokia Lumia 820 and Samsung Galaxy S4 in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. Those troubles finally hit the social network where it matters: earnings.
The settlement accrual, which Facebook set at $3 billion but said could rise as high as $5 billion, cut the company's net income in the first quarter to $2.43 billion, or 85 cents per share. The investigation is about Facebook's privacy practices and whether the company violated a legal agreement it had with the U.S. government to keep user data private.
It was only April of a year ago that founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat in front of Congress and answered questions about a 2016 privacy breach in which Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm that "offered tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior" to the Trump campaign, was able to access user information on 87 million users, 70 million of whom were Americans. Absent this one-time expense, the company noted, Facebook's earnings per share would have beaten analyst expectations, and its operating margin (22%) would have been 20 points higher. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $1.61 per share.
Facebook's results were otherwise strong, with total revenue and monthly active users beating analyst expectations.
Facebook's earnings follow an admission by the company earlier this month that it drastically understated the number of users whose passwords were stored in plain text on internal Facebook servers, a move that flies in the face of security best practices.
Facebook ended March with 2.38 billion monthly active users, also up 8% year-over-year.
"We had a good quarter and our business and community continued to grow", founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said. "We are focused on building out our privacy-focused vision for the future of social networking, and working collaboratively to address important issues around the internet".
Investors were apparently not too disturbed by the anticipated fine, and sent Facebook's share price up more than 4% in after-hours trading.
"This is a significant development, and any settlement with the FTC may impact the ways advertisers can use the platform in the future", she said.
"People want to use both private and public platforms", Zuckerberg said on a conference call Wednesday, according to CNN. Update, 1:45 p.m. PT: Adds analyst comment.
"While marketers may say privately that they do worry about Facebook's problems with fake news, election meddling, privacy and more, they worry more about their own financial health, and Facebook is still a major partner in that regard", Williamson said.
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The opposition is challenging him for a high unemployment rate of 6.1% and farmers' distress aggravated by low crop prices. Therefore, space security is essential, a fact that was ignored by previous governments", PM Modi said .
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