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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has received a stamp of approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in their settlement regarding charges that the social network lied to users about its use of their personal information. The agency had alleged Facebook told users they could keep their data private, but allowed the information to be shared and made public. Facebook had decided to settle last November.
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According to the FTC, the social network made a series of privacy revisions changes in 2009 that led to automatic sharing of profile pictures and information such as lists of online friends and political views, even if the user had asked for the content to be kept private. Facebook was also charged with secretly sharing users’ information with third-party advertisers.
Facebook did not accept wrongdoing, but as part of the agreement, which just concluded its public comment stage, it will now need to give consumers clear notice and ask for their express consent before making content public. The company also agreed to submit to government audits of its privacy practices every two years for the next two decades, according to the Wall Street Journal.
FTC said the final settlement was approved with a 3-1-1 vote. Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen did not participate in the vote, while Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch decided to dissent, saying he was concerned that Facebook had denied liability. He also expressed worry that user agreement may not eventually cover all representations.
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