Facebook now have to sort out privacy say FTC

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The Federal Trade Commission said Facebook’s claims about its privacy policies were unfair and deceptive and violated federal law.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.

The FTC have ruled that Facebook will now be required to obtain approval from users before making any changes to privacy settings or how data is shared and also stop anyone accessing a deleted account within 30 days of its deletion.

This is good news. Isn’t it what we said all along, opt in, not opt out!   I am not against Mark Zuckerberg or Facebook but they really need to listen to the users.  From what I’ve seen they aren’t good listeners.

In Mark Zuckerberg’s blog post today he actually said…

Overall, I think we have a good history of providing transparency and control over who can see your information.

REALLY?  He still doesn’t see that people were confused about keeping certain data or information private, or what was being shared. Then it was changed and private information suddenly wasn’t private any more, and then changed again, people had no idea what was going on. 

He then admits “We’ve made a bunch of mistakes.” 

Erm.. yeah.

This case has been going on for 2 years now, and Facebook have apparently made many changes to Facebook to try fix things, or they said they did. But now Facebook have actually agreed that they will implement these changes, I wonder will it actually happen, and what will haven’t if they don’t.

The FTC complaint lists a number of instances in which Facebook allegedly made promises that it did not keep:

  • In December 2009, Facebook changed its website so certain information that users may have designated as private – such as their Friends List – was made public. They didn’t warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.
  • Facebook represented that third-party apps that users’ installed would have access only to user information that they needed to operate. In fact, the apps could access nearly all of users’ personal data – data the apps didn’t need.
  • Facebook told users they could restrict sharing of data to limited audiences – for example with “Friends Only.” In fact, selecting “Friends Only” did not prevent their information from being shared with third-party applications their friends used.
  • Facebook had a “Verified Apps” program & claimed it certified the security of participating apps. It didn’t.
  • Facebook promised users that it would not share their personal information with advertisers. It did.
  • Facebook claimed that when users deactivated or deleted their accounts, their photos and videos would be inaccessible. But Facebook allowed access to the content, even after users had deactivated or deleted their accounts.
  • Facebook claimed that it complied with the U.S.- EU Safe Harbor Framework that governs data transfer between the U.S. and the European Union. It didn’t.

Facebook got off pretty lightly by the sounds of it, they didn’t actually admit to any wrong doing and they didn’t even get a fine. It sounds more like they have been asked to make these changes and Facebook said Ok then.

However under the FTC agreement Facebook are to obtain periodic assessments of its privacy practices by Independent third party auditors for the next 20 years!


What do you feel about all of this, are you concerned about Facebook privacy – do you want more changes?  What changes do you want?  Or are you happy with Facebook as it is now?

Watch this space…

Hope this helps