Google is close to paying $US22.5 million to settle charges it bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple's Safari browser, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The fine would be the largest penalty ever levied on a single company by the US Federal Trade Commission, the Journal said late Monday.
Google was charged with injection of cookies to track users through Apple's Safari browser for iPhone or iPad so the search giant could monitor users that had blocked such tracking.
The company disabled the code after being contacted by the Journal. According to Google, tracking of Apple users was inadvertent and did not cause any harm to consumers.
"The FTC is focused on a 2009 help center page. We have now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies," Google told the Journal.
The FTC had initially sought to levy a fine of up to $US10 million on Google over the allegations.
Google also faces potential sanctions from other governments. It is being investigated by the European Union to determine if the company complies with Europe's stricter privacy laws, the Journal reported.
Google and FTC could not be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular US business hours.
(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Matt Driskill)
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