WSJ: Facebook reaches $5 billion FTC settlement

How the company will be restricted and regulated going forward is still unknown.

The inevitable has happened for Facebook. After weeks of reports that the company was working to settle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its privacy practices, the two parties have finally come to an agreement. The Wall Street Journal reports that commissioners voted to approve a $5 billion settlement -- something Facebook had already accounted for -- for the social network over its "privacy missteps," with three Republicans voting to approve the deal and two Democrats opposed.

What's unclear is what restrictions have been put in place to monitor or regulate Facebook going forward, and why people should expect that their data will be any safer in the future. Still, the reported fine is the largest of its kind for a technology company, eclipsing the $22.5 million penalty Google paid to the FTC following a probe into its data-sharing practices. Since Facebook can clearly absorb the financial hit, additional oversight, and making executives like Mark Zuckerberg personally responsible for privacy failings may have more teeth than a fine.

Richard Lawler contributed to this report.

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