Facebook and FTC Reach Privacy Settlement
Some of us can now stop complaining about Facebook’s privacy issues.
It didn’t took Mark Zuckerberg to arrange a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission too long compared to the recent NBA lockout talks. Facebook was being accused by the FTC in an eight-count complaint where Facebook has misled users regarding the security of their personal information. The social network enabled sensitive user information to be used by advertisers and software developers in order to track potential customers. However, Facebook fell short in asking permission about sharing user details without legal consent.
Mark Zuckerberg and his social network have defied odds after he created “The Facebook” in 2004 in his dorm room like issues with the Winklevoss twins and Eduardo Saverin. But the recent FTC charges humbled Zuckerberg and posted a blog post admitting that Facebook made a bunch of mistakes. “Overall, I think we have a good history of providing transparency and control over who can see your information. That said, I’m the first to admit that we’ve made a bunch of mistakes. In particular, I think that a small number of high profile mistakes, like Beacon four years ago and poor execution as we transitioned our privacy model two years ago, have often overshadowed much of the good work we’ve done.” Zuckerberg said.
In order to settle privacy complaints, Facebook has agreed to submit annual goverment audits of privacy practices for the next 20 years. Facebook now suggests a process called “opting in” before making changes to their privacy controls and sharing their information. Facebook will be fined $16,000 for every violation per FTC order. Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC, thinks Facebook is making a good move in making a commitment to privacy without compromising valuable user information. “Facebook is obligated to keep the promises about privacy that it makes to its hundreds of millions of users,” Leibowitz said. “Facebook’s innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy. The FTC action will ensure it will not.”
The Facebook-FTC settlement also marks a new phase. It enables social networks to establish more firm ground rules about privacy issues in order to justify using private user info to monetize its free service through advertising. This isn’t new for social media enthusiasts because it’s apparent that a free service like Facebook or Twitter needs to monetize their service by selling user information to sell to third parties. We all know that social media usage has increased every year which has urged brands and marketers to leverage valuable and private consumer information from social media networks for their campaigns.
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