Five billion dollars is written like this: $5,000,000,000.
But experts say that Facebook’s record-breaking FTC-imposed fine could easily have been a longer string of numbers attached to personal liability for CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other company executives for any future privacy violations.
But, that’s not what happened.
Pick a point of view:
“While $5 billion certainly is a lot of money, and significantly higher than the previous record-holder of a $22.5 million fine against Google. Yet, it’s just a small fraction of the $55 billion in revenue Facebook brought in for 2018,” reports Digital Insider.
Some expert observers indicate the $5B penalty was actually just a “slap on the wrist” (Business Insider) and “drastically watered down” (Washington Post), leaving Zuckerberg to wonder what else he can get away with. Technology opinion writer Kara Swisher (New York Times) compared it to “a parking ticket. Not a speeding ticket. Not a DUI…”
Others report “the fine represents huge progress in pushing companies to take seriously the potential regulatory penalties for data breeches.” (Slate).
The settlement is related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that compromised personal data of more than 50 million Facebook users in the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential election plus the 2017 Equifax privacy breech for 147 million users.