The leaked Facebook whistleblower files have triggered an FTC probe into whether the tech giant violated a $5 billion privacy settlement, a report says

By Isobel Asher Hamilton

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched a probe into whether Facebook broke a massive settlement agreement with the agency, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

Per The Journal, the probe was prompted by internal documents leaked by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.

One source told The Journal that the FTC was looking into whether internal research documents showed the company violated a record-breaking $5 billion settlement it reached with the agency in 2019 over user privacy.

The FTC has been in touch with Haugen's team, the Journal reported, citing a second source.

Facebook did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider. A Facebook spokesperson told The Journal the company is "always ready to answer regulators' questions and will continue to cooperate with government inquiries."

The FTC declined to comment when contacted by The Journal.

Three senators wrote to the FTC on October 8 asking it to ensure that tech companies including Facebook, Google, and TikTok comply with rules protecting children and teenagers online. One of the papers leaked by Haugen contained internal company research into Instagram's effect on the mental health of teenagers.

Haugen has testified to lawmakers in the US and the UK about her time on Facebook's civic integrity team and the various documents she was able to obtain. Haugen has also filed official whistleblower complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Facebook has disputed Haugen's characterization of the company as putting "profits before people." CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in response to Haugen's testimony before Congress that a "false narrative" was being constructed about the company.