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FTC Says Facebook Settles Privacy Charges

Date : 08/10/2012 @ 12:40PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Google Inc. - Class A (MM) (GOOGL)
Quote : 549.15  1.42 (0.26%) @ 5:10PM
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FTC Says Facebook Settles Privacy Charges

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Facebook Inc. (FB) has finalized its settlement of charges that it deceived users about its use of their personal information.

Facebook first agreed to the settlement in November, prompting a period of public comment that has just ended.

The regulatory agency had charged that Facebook promised consumers they could keep their data private, and then repeatedly allowed the information to be shared and made public.

Facebook wasn't immediately available for comment Friday. But Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page last year that the company had made a "small number of high profile mistakes" and put the FTC deal in context of a broader push by the government to protect consumer privacy.

The settlement requires the company to give consumers clear and prominent notice and obtain their express consent before sharing information beyond their privacy settings, the U.S. regulator said. Facebook will also be required to maintain a privacy program to protect consumers' information, and get third-party audits every two years.

FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch dissented from the order, expressing concerns about Facebook's denial of liability, and adding that the agreement may not unequivocally cover all representations made by the company.

The settlement comes amid mounting privacy concerns about the personal data that tech companies glean from social media, websites, browsers and cell phones, and share with advertisers or the public.

Google Inc. (GOOG) earlier this week agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle an FTC charge that it secretly bypassed the privacy settings of millions of people who use Apple Inc. (AAPL) devices.

Write to Kristin Jones at kristin.jones@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires




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