The much-anticipated settlement still needs final approval in the coming weeks from the Justice Department, which rarely rejects settlements reached by the agency. It would be the biggest fine by far levied by the federal government against a technology company, easily eclipsing the $22 million imposed on Google in 2012. The size of the penalty underscored the rising frustration among Washington officials with how Silicon Valley giants collect, store and use people’s information.
It would also represent one of the most aggressive regulatory actions by the Trump administration, and a sign of the government’s willingness to punish one of the country’s biggest and most powerful companies. President Trump has dialed back regulations in many industries, but the Facebook settlement sets a new bar for privacy enforcement by United States officials, who have brought few cases against large technology companies.
In addition to the fine, Facebook agreed to more comprehensive oversight of how it handles user data, according to the people. But none of the conditions in the settlement will impose strict limitations on Facebook’s ability to collect and share data with third parties. And that decision appeared to help split the five-member commission. The 3-to-2 vote, taken in secret this week, drew the dissent of the two Democrats on the commission because they sought stricter limits on the company, the people said.
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