Sen. Schumer Urges FTC to Set Social Networking Guidelines

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Monday to create guidelines for how user information collected by social networking sites such as Facebook can be shared with third parties.

Last week Facebook unveiled controversial changes to the way it shares members' profile information with other websites. Facebook Connect automatically delivers user information to sites such as Pandora and Yelp unless individuals manually opt out.

"As these sites [such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace] become more and more popular ... it's vitally important that safeguards are in place that provide users with control over their personal information to ensure they don't receive unwanted solicitations," Schumer said in a statement. "At the same time, social networking sites need to provide easy to understand disclosures to users on how information they submit is being shared."

Schumer suggested the FTC should examine social network privacy policies and provide criteria for what the sites can and cannot do without user permission. He also offered to draft legislation that gives the FTC oversight of social networks if the agency doesn't already have that jurisdiction.

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Lauren Williamson

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