Facebook and FTC Near Agreement On 2009 Privacy Complaint

Posted Nov 10, 2011

Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission are nearing an agreement from a 2009 privacy complaint. The final approval from the FTC commissioners would require Facebook to let users opt in to changes in the way that information is shared rather than forcing them to opt out of changes that Facebook imposes on them.

Facebook would also be subject to independent privacy audits over the next 20 years. In 2009, advocacy groups claimed that changes Facebook made had exposed more data to third party applications and advertisers. This violated user expectations. The changes made the names, profile pictures, cities, and other information available to the web by default and forced users to push for their own privacy choices.

“It’s been almost two years since a coalition of U.S. consumer and privacy groups first filed this complaint with the FTC concerning Facebook’s changes to its users’ privacy setting,” stated Electronic Privacy Information Center executive director Marc Rotenberg. “It’s nice to see there may finally be action by the Commission.”