Facebook Settles FTC Charges, Pledges to Become Privacy Leader

Lora Bentley

Facebook is facing the Federal Trade Commission's music for privacy violations. The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday the leading social network has agreed to 20 years of privacy audits, among other things, to settle charges that it deceived users regarding the privacy of information posted to the site.


According to the FTC report, the complaint set out eight different charges addressing misrepresentations Facebook made regarding how user information would be handled. For instance:

Slide Show

Six Facebook Privacy Blunders

Facebook routinely pushes privacy boundaries and riles privacy advocates.

  • 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 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.

In addition to 20 years of privacy audits, Facebook has committed to obtain a user's "affirmative express consent" before implementing changes that supplant the user's chosen privacy controls. The company must also prevent third parties from accessing information associated with accounts that have been deleted.


In a sharp turnaround from his previous position that no one really cares about privacy, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had this to say:

[N]ot one day goes by when I don't think about what it means for us to be the stewards of this community and their trust. I'm committed to making Facebook the leader in transparency and control around privacy.

It sounds good. But will it actually happen? I'm not yet convinced.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Dec 8, 2011 9:04 AM victor stanescu victor stanescu  says:

This is a very small victory in the outgoing war of keeping our online data secure.

I would have preffered to see a large and heavy fine applied to Facebook for all of their "accidents" on privacy!



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