Facebook Nears Privacy Deal With FTC
Everyone’s hip to Facebook – except, maybe the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has been battling the social media giant to reign in it’s privacy issues. It now appears that the two sides may be nearing an agreement.
Under the agreement, Facebook would agree to privacy audits for 20 years, one of the people said. It would also prohibit Facebook from making public a piece of information that a user had originally shared privately on the site without express permission, the person said. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because the F.T.C. commissioners have not yet approved the settlement.
But Facebook would not be required to ask users if they would like to participate in all sharing features on the site, including tools that it builds in the future.
Critics argue that Facebook is just shoring up it’s loose ends before going public.
“This is part of the balancing act Facebook has to do,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “It also needs to settle the privacy complaints in the United States and Europe before its I.P.O.”
But Mr. Chester expressed doubts that the settlement would appease critics of Facebook’s data-collection practices.
“The real test of the F.T.C.’s Facebook deal will be whether a user actually has control over their own information, or will this be a tiny digital bump on the road that does nothing to derail Mark Zuckerberg’s voracious appetite to swallow up our data,” he said.
Users, privacy specialists and politicians have attacked Facebook for automatically signing people up for new features on the site, instead of asking them first.