Facebook today agreed to settle complaints by the Federal Trade Commission that they knowingly failed to protect users privacy. They are now subject to a 20 year agreement that requires Facebook to clearly get user consent before sharing material that was previously protected by more restrictive measures. Facebook also agreed to independent reviews of the companies privacy policies.
“Companies must live up to their promises about privacy,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said on a conference call with reporters. The settlement “will protect consumer choices and ensure they have full and truthful information about their data.”
More after the break
Many news outlets and internet sites have been suggesting that Facebook may finally IPO in the first part of 2012 to the beat of a $100 billion dollar valuation. With that in mind it appears that Facebook is trying to clear off anything that could potentially hurt the IPO.
Facebook has stepped up their internal Privacy administrators by appointing Erin Egan a former partner at Covington & Burling a company that specializes in data security as Chief Privacy Officer. Zuckerberg also promoted Michael Richter, their lead counsel on Privacy to the same position.
For years many Facebook users who have left Facebook have been concerned about how long their accounts linger on Facebook servers. It’s been possible to deactivate an account and get access back to it a year later. Under the new agreement with the FTC Facebook will totally shut off access to a user account after being deactivated by the user within 30 days.