Jul 12, 2019

FTC votes to approve nearly $5 billion in settlement with Facebook

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

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FTC's Facebook fine draws fire

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

News that the Federal Trade Commission has approved a roughly $5 billion fine against Facebook for privacy violations prompted instant outcry from some critics and lawmakers.

Why it matters: The FTC decision could have consequences for Facebook's billions of users — and frame the next stage of a global debate over how to regulate consumer privacy. A consensus that the settlement is weak would provide more ammo for proponents of new privacy laws — whereas an assessment that the penalties are serious would strengthen the hands of those who oppose new regulation.

Go deeperArrowJul 13, 2019

Facebook shareholders breathe sigh of relief on $5 billion FTC fine

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.

Go deeperArrowJul 15, 2019

Facebook settles with FTC regulators over privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Federal Trade Commission has settled with Facebook over allegations that it "repeatedly used deceptive disclosures and settings to undermine users’ privacy preferences," in a deal that will apply some new oversight to its practices and force it to pay $5 billion.

Why it matters: Revelations last year that the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica had gathered a large trove of Facebook user data, and failed to get rid of it, set off a broader reckoning around data privacy in the era of Big Tech.

Go deeperArrowJul 24, 2019