The Federal Trade Commission voted this week to fine Facebook about $5 billion for mishandling users’ personal information, according to two people briefed on the vote, in what would be a landmark settlement that signals a newly aggressive stance by regulators toward the country’s most powerful technology companies.
The agency approved the settlement in a 3-to-2 vote along party lines, with the two Democrats voting against it, said the people, who would speak only the condition of anonymity.
The deal still needs final approval from the Justice Department, which rarely rejects settlements reached by the agency. If approved, it would be the biggest fine by far levied by the federal government against a technology company, easily eclipsing the $22 million imposed on Google in 2012. The size of the penalty underscored the rising frustration among Washington officials with how Silicon Valley giants collect, store and use people’s information.
Peter Kaplan, a spokesman for the F.T.C., declined to comment.
Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, also declined to comment.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported on the vote by the commission.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.