Released Statement on FTC and Facebook Settlement


Statement from the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) on U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Facebook Settlement Over Privacy Concerns

WASHINGTON – In response to the FTC settlement with Facebook, the following statement is attributed to Jules Polonetsky, Director and Co-Chair, Future of Privacy Forum:

“Today’s FTC settlement with Facebook sends two strong messages that are relevant for all companies and resonate beyond Facebook.  As in the Google Buzz settlement, if you materially change your practices and expose user information more publically, you need to get express consent.  And if you are a custodian of user data, you need to have a formal program in place that ensures that data use and product development are overseen by privacy staff.  These are guidelines that any company that interacts with consumer data would be wise to consider baseline requirements.

We commend the FTC for protecting consumers, while also recognizing the importance of future data use innovations by including an option for Facebook to seek modification of the settlement of some new form of sharing that is useful to consumers that is now limited by the settlement.  Most of the issues raised in the complaint have been previously addressed by Facebook and relate to changes made in 2009.  Going forward this agreement should strengthen the positions of the Facebook privacy staff by more formally mandating the role they play in the product development process.

Overall, the settlement holds Facebook accountable for some of the early changes in its privacy practices that were the subject of criticism, while leaving it able to continue advancing new services, subject to appropriate notice and user permission.”
To schedule an interview with Jules Polonetsky, call Beth Sullivan at 202.550.4401 or e-mail [email protected]

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is a Washington, DC based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. The forum is led by Internet privacy experts Jules Polonetsky and Christopher Wolf and includes an advisory board comprised of leading figures from industry, academia, law and advocacy groups.