Facebook Fined $5 Billion Over Privacy Violations

Federal regulators are fining Facebook $US5 billion ($A4.47 billion) for privacy violations and instituting new oversight and restrictions on its business.

But they are only holding CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally responsible in a limited fashion.

The fine is the largest the Federal Trade Commission has levied on a tech company, although it won't much dent a company that had nearly $56 billion in revenue last year.

Photo: Getty Images

Zuckerberg must personally certify Facebook's compliance with its privacy programs. The FTC says false certifications could expose him to civil or criminal penalties.

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Some experts thought the FTC might fine Zuckerberg directly or limit his authority over the company.

In a statement, Zuckerberg said Facebook has a "responsibility" to protect people's privacy.

"We've formally reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission about privacy," he said.

"We've agreed to pay a historic fine, but even more important, we're going to make some major structural changes to how we build products and run this company.

"We already work hard to live up to this responsibility, but now we're going to set a completely new standard for our industry."

Photo: Getty

Zuckerberg said the changes being implemented will be "beyond" the standards required by U.S. law.

"As we build our privacy-focused vision for the future of social networking that I outlined earlier this year, it's critical we get this right," he said.

The commission opened their investigation after revelations that data mining firm Cambridge Analytica had gathered details on as many as 87 million Facebook users without their permission.