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FTC examines potential Facebook changes

The social media company says its just complying with a judge’s order

Facebook said it was just doing what it’s supposed to do when it proposed changes to its privacy policy late last month, but the social media giant has again drawn attention to its policy—and again, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is getting involved.

Critics of Facebook’s proposed policy changes are again concerned about how the company uses its members’ photos and personal information in advertising. Several privacy groups sent letters to the FTC last week, claiming that Facebook’s proposed changes violated the social media company’s 2011 settlement with the FTC. That settlement mandates that Facebook get approval from its users before changing its privacy controls.

The FTC has said its inquiry into Facebook’s proposed changes is part of its regular monitoring of the social media company’s behavior.

“As in all cases, we’re monitoring compliance with the order, and part of that involves interacting with Facebook,” FTC spokesman Peter Kaplan said in a statement.

According to Facebook, the changes don’t include a shift in the way it uses its members’ information. Rather, the proposed changes are meant to bring more transparency to Facebook’s current privacy policy and use clearer language to describe what the company already does with user information, as mandated by a San Francisco judge as part of the company’s 2011 settlement.

“Importantly, our updated policies do not grant Facebook any additional rights to use consumer information in advertising,” Facebook spokeswoman Jodi Seth said in a statement. “Rather, the new policies further clarify and explain our existing practices. We take these issues very seriously and are confident that our policies are fully compliant with our agreement with the FTC.”

Read more about this story on the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

For more recent InsideCounsel stories involving social media companies, see:

Lawyer calls Yelp’s suit against him retaliation

Social media: boon to business or compliance death trap?

In advance of IPO, Twitter GC steps down

Social media’s hedge fund guru charged with fraud

Technology: The legal issues of advertising online and through social media

Technology: Facebook, food and the FDA

 

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Cathleen Flahardy

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