Facebook on Wednesday said that it is expecting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as a part of its ongoing investigation, would fine the social networking giant to the tune of USD three to USD four billion amid reports of data privacy scandals.
Facebook has set aside USD three billion in legal expenses related to the investigation, which cut into its profit for the first three months of 2019. Its profit for the first quarter was USD 2.4 billion, a decrease of 51 per cent from the same period a year ago, CNN Business reported.
"In the first quarter of 2019, we reasonably estimated a probable loss and recorded an accrual of USD three billion in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into our platform and user data practices, which accrual is included in accrued expenses and other current liabilities on our condensed consolidated balance sheet," the social media platform said in a report released on Wednesday.
"We estimate that the range of loss in this matter is USD three billion to USD five billion. The matter remains unresolved, and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome," the statement added.
However, despite rumours of such massive fine, shares of Facebook rose up to 5 per cent in after hours of trading on Wednesday following the news.
The fine would mark the first financial penalty for Facebook in the United States since the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light last year in March.
The fine came amid reports claiming that Facebook had violated a 2011 consent agreement with the FTC, which required the social network to have a "comprehensive privacy program" and to get the "express consent" of users before sharing their data.
Last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company would emphasise private, encrypted and ephemeral conversations across its products in an attempt to reposition the company as a "privacy-focused" platform.
Recently, the social media platform also added new members to its board of directors, including a general counsel who served as a State Department official appointed by President Donald Trump, and a Vice President of global communications who worked at Microsoft when it faced antitrust scrutiny.