Facebook to improve privacy policies

Facebook to get user consent for privacy changes following FTC settlement

Tags: Facebook IncorporationPrivacySocial networking
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Facebook to improve privacy policies Facebook will now gain user consent before changing privacy settings. (Getty Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  November 30, 2011

Facebook will have to gain consent from users before making changes to their privacy settings, following a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC had taken action against the social network, sayings that its privacy policies were "unfair and deceptive, and violated federal law".

Facebook has been criticised for changing privacy settings without informing users, exposing users' private data, and had also shared user data with advertisers, even though its policies claimed it would not do this.

Under the settlement with the FTC, Facebook will now have to get consent from users before implementing any changes that would affect privacy. Facebook will also be subject to an independent audit of its consumer privacy policy every two years for the next twenty years, to ensure it is complying with the FTC ruling.

In a posting on Facebook, founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the company had made mistakes, but that it has implemented 20 new privacy tools in the past 18 months, and was appointing two chief privacy officers.

"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 wrote.

"I'm committed to making Facebook the leader in transparency and control around privacy. We're making a clear and formal long-term commitment to do the things we've always tried to do and planned to keep doing -- giving you tools to control who can see your information and then making sure only those people you intend can see it," he added.

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