FTC votes to approve $5 billion settlement with Facebook in privacy probe

Could result in unprecedented federal oversight...

The Federal Trade Commission voted this week to approve a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook that could end an investigation into its privacy practices, according to a person familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak on the record, a deal that could result in unprecedented government oversight of the company.

The settlement — adopted with the FTC’s three Republicans supporting it and two Democrats against it — could end a wide-ranging probe into Facebook’s mishandling of users’ personal information that began more than a year ago.

The FTC’s $5 billion punishment against Facebook sets a new record as the largest penalty ever assessed against a tech company that broke a past promise to the government to improve its privacy practices. The matter from here rests in the hands of the Justice Department, which typically must finalize FTC settlements, though DOJ rarely has upended them.

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