Facebook Settles Privacy Dispute with FTC, Sans Fine

The US  Federal Trade Commission closed a final settlement with Facebook on Friday after Facebook was accused of deceiving customers telling them their information is private, then sharing it with the public. The settlement requires the company to give consumers clear and prominent notice and obtain their express consent before sharing information beyond their privacy settings. Unlike Google, which earlier this week agreed to pay the FTC US $22.5 million, Facebook won’t be fined a cent.

“The settlement requires Facebook to take several steps to make sure it lives up to its promises in the future,” the FTC wrote in a statement, “including by giving consumers clear and prominent notice and obtaining their express consent before sharing their information beyond their privacy settings, by maintaining a comprehensive privacy program to protect consumers’ information, and by obtaining biennial privacy audits from an independent third party.”

It was not a unanimous decision by the FTC, FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch dissented from the acceptance, saying that Facebook’s denial of liability led him to question whether the settlement was “in the interest of the public”.


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