facebook fined
July 12, 2019

Facebook has reportedly gotten exactly what it expected.

The Federal Trade Commission has okayed a "roughly" $5 billion settlement with Facebook over the company's handling of user data, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post all report via people familiar with the decision. It marks the FTC's largest fine ever issued, and matches the fine Facebook said in April it was expecting to pay.

The FTC's reported settlement comes after a more than yearlong probe into Facebook's privacy practices, which started after news of its Cambridge Analytica scandal broke. This report likely coincides with the end of the probe, and implies that the FTC concluded Facebook violated commission guidelines governing how it handles user data, per the Journal. The settlement could also come with further government oversight into Facebook, including forcing it to "document every decision it makes about data before offering new products," the Post writes.

The decision reportedly split the five-member FTC board along party lines, with its three Republican members voting for the fine and its two Democrats voting against it. The Department of Justice now has to approve the settlement, though it historically doesn't overrule FTC decisions, the Times says. Facebook and the FTC both declined to comment on the matter.

Read business columnist Jeff Spross' take on why the $5 billion is "actually peanuts" for Facebook at The Week. Kathryn Krawczyk

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