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Photo: LOIC VENANCE/Getty Images

After more than a year-and-a-half probe, the Federal Trade Commission voted to approve approximately $5 billion in settlement fees with Facebook this week, a source familiar with the case confirmed to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters via Axios' David McCabe: A settlement of the long-running investigation would move the global debate over online privacy into a new phase, sparked, in part, by revelations about Facebook's treatment of user data. The $5 billion fine would represent the largest ever of its kind.

  • FTC commissioners reportedly voted along party lines, with 3 Republicans in support of the settlement and 2 Democrats opposed.

What's next: The final settlement will likely include further guidance on Facebook's management of user privacy. The issue will be reviewed by the Justice Department’s civil division.

  • Both the FTC and a Facebook spokesperson declined to comment.

Go deeper: How to read a Facebook privacy settlement

Go deeper

23 mins ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 29 mins ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Charted: GOP surged as Biden slumped

Expand chart
Reproduced from Gallup. (Independents were asked their party leaning.) Chart: Axios Visuals

Gallup polling found a huge shift in party preference over the course of 2021, from a 9-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a 5-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

Why it matters: It's the biggest swing in one calendar year for Gallup's 30 years of tracking.