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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

News that Facebook reached a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission had critics fuming and Facebook shareholders breathing a sigh of relief.

Driving the news: The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both reported on Friday afternoon that the FTC had voted 3-2 along party lines to approve a deal, with Democrats reportedly holding out for tougher conditions.

  • In after-hours trading on Friday, Facebook shares rallied. Shares opened down Monday morning.
  • The company's critics blasted the settlement for both the size of the fine and the apparent lack of tough new restraints on its conduct.
  • The Department of Justice still needs to sign off on the deal.

Capitol Hill Democrats and advocates of aggressive new privacy regulation panned the deal.

  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called the $5 billion fine, the largest in FTC history, a "tap on the wrist" for the mammoth Facebook.
  • Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said the settlement was a "victory for Facebook."
  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said that with "the FTC either unable or unwilling to put in place reasonable guardrails to ensure that user privacy and data are protected, it's time for Congress to act."

What we don't know: The exact terms of the settlement, which is expected to put restrictions of some kind on Facebook's behavior that go beyond just the financial penalty.

  • Both the FTC and Facebook declined to comment.

Background: It has been 475 days since the FTC confirmed that it was investigating the company, following revelations that a researcher associated with consultancy Cambridge Analytica had swept up Facebook user data.

  • Critics charged that Facebook had violated a previous 2012 settlement with the FTC that required it to take more care when it came to user privacy, allowing the agency to levy greater penalties.

The big picture: The FTC inquiry is far from the only regulatory probe facing the company.

Go deeper

Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
4 hours ago - Sports

European soccer is at war

Liverpool celebrating its 2019 Champions League victory. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
5 hours ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.