NEWS30 November 2011

Facebook settles privacy complaint with FTC

Legal North America

US— Facebook has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which claimed that the social networking site had failed to keep its privacy promises to consumers.

The FTC’s complaint listed a number of instances where Facebook allegedly failed to treat user data in the way it said it would, including sharing data with advertisers and third-party apps and changing its privacy policy in December 2009, which led to user information that was set to ‘private’ being made public.

The full text of the settlement is here. It is still awaiting final approval, but it bars Facebook from making misrepresentations about the privacy and security of users’ personal information; requires the site to seek express consent from individuals before overriding their privacy preferences; and requires Facebook to submit to bi-annual audits of its privacy programme by a third-party.

FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz said: “Facebook’s innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy. The FTC action will ensure it will not.”

In a blog post, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) admitted that the firm had made “a bunch of mistakes” over the years, but he said the company had “already proactively addressed many of the concerns the FTC raised”.

Alongside the FTC announcement, Zuckerberg said the company had created to new chief privacy officer roles, one focused on policy, the other on the company’s products.

“Overall, I think we have a good history of providing transparency and control over who can see your information,” Zuckerberg said. “But we can always do better. I’m committed to making Facebook the leader in transparency and control around privacy.”


1 Comment

13 years ago

This is nothing but a very small victory in the outgoing war of keeping our online data secure. I would have preffered to see the FCC give a way larger fine to Facebook for all of their "accidents" on privacy!

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