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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

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
31 mins ago - Economy & Business

Pandemic concerns change economic growth forecast

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Business economists have tempered their 2021 growth expectations, cutting nearly a point off their annual GDP forecast since earlier this year, according to the NABE outlook survey released today.

Why it matters: This reflects increased concerns over the pandemic's impact on the economy, particularly due to the spread of Delta and other variants. Panelists said that a faster vaccine rollout could improve their outlooks.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

German election: Social Democrats narrowly beat Angela Merkel's bloc

SPD leader Olaf Scholz. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

BERLIN — The center-left Social Democratic Party (SDP) clinched a narrow victory in Germany's historic federal elections on Sunday, just four years after suffering its worst loss since World War II.

Why it matters: It's a stunning political comeback for the SPD, paving the way for its chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz to form a new governing coalition and lead Europe's largest economy into the post-Merkel era.

NTSB investigating deadly Amtrak derailment in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived on Sunday evening at the site of an Amtrak train derailment near Joplin, Montana, which authorities said killed three people and wounded some 50 others.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, Oregon, when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4p.m. Saturday, per an Amtrak statement.