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Enlarge / You can't send corporate "persons" directly to jail, but you can charge them a lot of money. (credit: martince2 | Getty Images)

The Federal Trade Commission's recent $5 billion settlement with Facebook largely drew two responses. One holds that $5 billion is objectively a large sum of money, while the other holds that, against Facebook's $55 billion 2018 revenue, the penalty amounts to mere drops in the ocean that will go completely unnoticed within the mammoth company.

Both takes are true: a fine can be both a very large amount of money and yet also not "enough." The FTC's ability to penalize businesses, though, is limited under existing law. And so a group of Democratic senators has introduced a bill that could change the law in order to let the FTC fine a bad actor big bucks.

The proposed law basically seeks to deter anticompetitive and monopolistic behavior by charging great gobs of money against the companies that get caught doing it. Businesses found to be in violation of certain antitrust laws would owe the greater of either 15% of their annual US revenue or 30% of all revenue over the period of time the unlawful behavior took place.

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