Facebook And FTC Close To Privacy Settlement

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Facebook will agree to 20 years of privacy audits to end privacy investigation

Facebook is x close to agreeing a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission that would resolve accusations that the social network made deceptive changes to its privacy policies, according to reports.

The settlement, which has not yet been announced by the FTC, relates to privacy changes made in December 2009 which exposed information that was previously private, such as profile photos, friend lists and locations.

Deceptive Changes

Facebook claimed that these changes were designed to simplify some settings which users found confusing, but the move attracted criticism from a number of privacy advocates.

Under the agreement, Facebook would agree to privacy audits for 20 years and would be banned from publicising information which users had previously made private. However Facebook would not be required to ask users if they want to participate in all current or future sharing tools.

Facebook’s privacy policies have been a magnet for criticism, with analysts frequently calling on the company to improve its security settings. Regulators have argued that the social network’s facial recognition software abuses users rights, while in May 2010, Facebook was forced to fix a bug that made private chats public and exposed pending friend requests.

Governments have also expressed their reservations. Facebook bowed to pressure from Canadian authorities and added more protection for users in 2009 and in 2010 four US senators wrote to CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to reconsider his approach to security.

The European Union has warned that it would not hesitate to take legal action if Facebook failed to uphold European privacy laws.

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