Social media giant Facebook is set to face a $5bn fine following an investigation into the Cambridge Analytica data-stealing scandal.

The punishment comes from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has been looking into the incident since it was revealed by whistle-blowers in 2018.

The FTC opened its investigation in March last year following claims that data from approximately 87 million Facebook users had been acquired by Cambridge Analytics. The FTC’s probe has largely focused on whether the sharing of users’ data violated a 2011 agreement between the regulator and the company.

The penalty will mark the largest in the FTC’s history by a large margin, according to Reuters, if agreed by the civil division of the US Department of Justice. It would also set a new bar for privacy enforcement by US regulators, who have hitherto only brought a handful of cases against big tech firms.

In March 2018, several news outlets reported that Cambridge Analytica had collected the data of millions of Facebook users.