Facebook close to a settlement over privacy concerns

U.S. government said the social media network misled users

Facebook may be close to reaching a settlement with the U.S. government over charges that the social media network misled its users regarding the use of their personal information, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The settlement would require Facebook to get consent from users before making “material retroactive changes” to its privacy policy, the Journal reports. The agreement is currently awaiting Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approval.

Some of Facebook’s 800 million users had repeatedly complained that the company made changes to its privacy policy without providing adequate notice and began disclosing more of its users’ personal information. This specific settlement centers on Facebook changes dating back to December 2009 when parts of users’ profiles—such as name, picture, city, gender and friends list—became public by default. After Facebook users complained, privacy advocates filed a complaint with the FTC.

As privacy continues to become an increasing concern in this digital age, some experts believe the deal will have a far-reaching impact on other online services, which have developed and implemented various tools to monitor individuals’ online behavior.

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