WASHINGTON – Nasdaq has agreed to pay a $10 million penalty to settle federal civil charges after regulators said its systems and decisions disrupted Facebook’s public stock offering last year.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday that the penalty is the largest ever imposed against an exchange. Nasdaq also has had to pay $62 million in reimbursements to investment firms that lost money because of the problems.

Facebook launched its initial public offering on May 18, 2012 amid great fanfare. But computer glitches at Nasdaq threw the launch into chaos. The technical problems kept many investors from buying shares that morning, selling them later in the day or even knowing whether their orders went through. Some said they were left holding shares they didn’t want.

The SEC says a design flaw in Nasdaq’s systems was to blame and Nasdaq officials then made a series of “ill-fated decisions.”

Nasdaq neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.

Robert Greifeld, the CEO of the exchange’s parent Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., called the settlement an “important step forward.”

In a letter to customers made public Wednesday, Greifeld said Nasdaq has carefully reviewed the Facebook disruption over the past year and put new technical safeguards in place. The Facebook IPO was one of the largest in history. The social network was valued at more than $100 billion when it went public for $38 a share.

Nasdaq violated market rules by being poorly prepared for the launch, the SEC said. Exchanges have an obligation to ensure that their systems and contingency plans are strong enough to manage an IPO without disrupting the market.