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Facebook Wins Big in Brazil Data Dispute

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Facebook fine cut by ~99%

A fine slapped on Facebook (FB) in Brazil for refusing to hand over WhatsApp data to investors has been slashed by ~99%, marking a massive win for the company. Last week, Brazil’s federal appeals court ruled that Facebook should only pay ~$6.0 million for withholding WhatsApp data from drug-trafficking investigators, overturning the $528 million fine imposed on the company in June 2017.

For Facebook, the fine reduction represents massive financial savings. Given that it is looking for new revenue avenues outside its core advertising industry, the company could funnel the amount toward expanding its share repurchase program or financing more product research and development.

Facebook sitting on $45 billion in cash

In its efforts to put more money back in shareholders’ pockets, Facebook announced in December that it was adding $9.0 billion to its share repurchase program. Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) also announced a $12.5 billion boost to its share repurchase program early this year.

Facebook finished the first quarter with $45.2 billion in cash. Meanwhile, Twitter (TWTR), Alphabet, and Baidu (BIDU) had cash reserves of $6.5 billion, $113.5 billion, and $21.4 billion, respectively, and Amazon (AMZN) and Alibaba (BABA) had cash reserves of $23.5 billion and $28.8 billion.

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