Facebook settles privacy complaint with Federal Trade Commission

Posted in: Legal & Security at 30/11/2011 16:00

Facebook has settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission that it deceived users by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private and then repeatedly making it public, according to the agency.

The settlement of an eight-count complaint requires Facebook to warn users about privacy changes and to get their permission before sharing their information more broadly, according to the FTC. Facebook has agreed to 20 years of privacy audits, it said.

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Accusing Facebook of "unfair and deceptive" business practices, the federal government on Tuesday announced a proposed settlement that compels the company to obtain its users' consent before making changes to privacy settings, and to subject itself to an independent audit on consumer privacy for the next 20 years.

The strongly worded order, announced by the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, stems in large part from changes that Facebook made to its users' privacy protocols in December 2009. The commission alleged that Facebook made public information that users had designated as private, without warning them or obtaining their consent.

Facebook settles FTC privacy complaint, agrees to ask users' permission for changes
Facebook has settled a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission that the social networking giant deceived consumers by promising privacy protections while it shared and made user data more public, according to the FTC.

The FTC said Tuesday that Facebook settled eight counts of privacy violations over the past three years. The company will not face monetary fines but has agreed to change its privacy policy to first ask users' permission when it changes the way it shares data. Facebook, with 800 million global users, will also undergo periodic audits of its privacy practices for the next 20 years.

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The Federal Trade Commission said Facebook would tighten consent rules on privacy, and close access to deleted accounts in 30 days or less.

The case began in 2009, when Facebook changed settings to make public details users may have deemed private.

Privacy groups generally cheer FTC's Facebook settlement [IDG]
Privacy and technology groups generally applauded a wide-ranging settlement between Facebook and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over the social-networking site's privacy practices.

The FTC alleged that Facebook repeatedly deceived users by saying their data was private when it wasn't.

Facebook reaches deal with FTC over 'unfair and deceptive' privacy claims
Facebook "deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public," US regulators said as they announced a settlement over privacy issues with the social networking giant.

Facebook has been repeatedly criticised for changing its policies in ways that disclose more of its 800 million users' personal information without giving them adequate notice. Last year, critics organised a Quit Facebook Day in response to the firm's alleged privacy breaches.

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