The record on Facebook Privacy, or lack thereof, has been a sketchy one. Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed Facebook has settled with the FTC and is now required to make all future Facebook Privacy changes opt-in and that Facebook will be required to be more transparent about it’s privacy practices.
FTC response on Facebook Privacy
The FTC stated that Facebook “deceived customers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public.” The FTC brought eight counts of Facebook Privacy failures. Facebook Privacy failures included sharing users’ personal information with third parties without their knowledge or consent, changing privacy practices without informing users, and claiming to have a program to verify the security of apps when it didn’t.
The FTC deal says that Facebook made information like Friends Lists public without consent. “They didn’t warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance,” the FTC said.
Facebook Privacy issues acknowledged by Mark Zuckerberg
In a blog post by Zuckerberg he acknowledges the Facebook Privacy failures among mistakes made by the company since it’s inception. He then goes on to list all the privacy features that they’ve recently implemented. Sadly, I didn’t see any mention of being able to export your data like Google Takeout, or a simpler method to revoke permissions.
I don’t believe for a second that they are doing this altruistically since the FTC requirements include that Facebook submit to independent, third-party privacy audits. I suppose it’s a step in the right direction and hopefully Facebook Privacy will become much easier to understand and use for the average user. It’s sad that in order to reign in the issues with Facebook Privacy that the FTC had to step in.