Facebook friends FTC, settles agency's privacy complaint

November 29, 2011|Eileen Ambrose

The Federal Trade Commission announced that Facebook agreed to settle a complaint that the social media site deceived consumers by promising to keep information private and then sharing it.

As part of the settlement, Facebook promised to get consumers express consent before sharing their information outside of the privacy boundaries set.

According to the FTC, here are some of its charges against Facebook:

“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 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.”

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