Facebook to Settle FTC Charges

Facebook is reportedly ready to settle a privacy complaint with the FTC, agreeing to get consent from users before making private data public and to performing privacy audits for the next 20 years.

At issue is Facebook’s decision in December 2009 to make sweeping and retroactive changes to user profiles, including requiring all users to have their profile images, cities of residence, and expressed interests made public.

Facebook’s “simplified” privacy settings also changed users’ default settings to make status updates fully public. Other settings that had been private or limited to only “Friends” became visible to “Friends of Friends” and to third-party developers. Even though users could manually change many of these defaults, most (reportedly about 80%) did not