Facebook, FTC reach settlement on privacy complaint

Facebook, FTC reach settlement on privacy complaint

Government officials have repeatedly scrutinized Facebook's privacy policy, alleging the social network is dishonest regarding users' privacy and a prime target for spam attacks.

Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission recently settled an eight-count complaint stemming from the company failing to keep several security promises it made to its users, an FTC press release said. The agreement requires Facebook to receive users' approval before changing the way it shares their personal data and forces an independent auditor to approve the company's privacy policy every two years, beginning in six months.

Additionally, the settlement requires Facebook to prevent access to user data within 30 days after an account is terminated.

"Facebook is obligated to keep the promises about privacy that it makes to its hundreds of millions of users," said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC. "Facebook's innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy. The FTC action will ensure it will not."

In a blog post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social network has made several mistakes, and he has assigned two privacy officers to self-assess Facebook's commitment to improving users' data security.

U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller recently invited Facebook to attend a hearing to explain how it collects and uses personal information, in response to the company admitting it tracks users' and non-users' web browsing history.