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FTC Votes to Approve $5 Billion Settlement With Facebook

The Federal Trade Commission has approved a $5 billion settlement with Facebook over a probe into the company’s privacy practices. 

The penalty, in the range of what Facebook had said it was anticipating, is the highest the FTC has ever levied against a tech company. A major outstanding question was whether Facebook would be required as part of the settlement to make substantial changes to the way it operates. The agreement is expected to include restrictions on how Facebook treats user privacy, the Wall Street Journal reported, but it isn’t clear what those restrictions are.

FTC commissioners voted 3-2, along party lines, a possible indication that the two Democrats on the commission, Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Slaughter, felt the fine and other parts of the settlement didn’t go far enough in punishing Facebook.  

Regulators began investigating Facebook last year after it emerged that the company had shared the personal information of millions of users with U.K. political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. Facebook stock was slightly up in after hours trading, a sign that the penalty was in line with expectations.

-Alex Heath contributed.

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