FTC settles with Facebook over privacy issues

It's been a busy week for the Federal Trade Commission. On Thursday, the US government agency fined Google $22.5 million for violating a previous agreement over the tracking of Safari web browser users without their consent. Today, the FTC announced it has reached a settlement with Facebook over a similar issue.

The FTC press release states that the new agreement with Facebook deals with a previous claim that the company shared private information about its subscribers to others, even though the company claimed it allowed its customers to keep their information private.

The FTC stated:

The settlement requires Facebook to take several steps to make sure it lives up to its promises in the future, including by giving consumers clear and prominent notice and obtaining their express consent before sharing their information beyond their privacy settings, by maintaining a comprehensive privacy program to protect consumers' information, and by obtaining biennial privacy audits from an independent third party.

The settlement with the FTC follows on the heels of a recent lawsuit filed in California against Facebook, which claimed that the company was publicizing users' "likes" of Sponsored Stories without payment or offering a way to opt out of having their "likes" featured.

Facebook later reached a tentative settlement in that lawsuit, but recently the judge in the case questioned whether the amount of money Facebook was paying to settle ($10 million in legal fees and $10 million to charity) was enough and why the plaintiffs in the case didn't receive any money.

Source: FTC website

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