FTC Settlement with Facebook May Include Privacy Oversight

As part of its settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission, the social media giant would have no choice but to "strengthen its privacy practices". The deal would involve appointing a federally approved privacy official at Facebook and setting up an "independent" privacy oversight committee that may include Facebook board members, said the source. That's the gist of reports in Politico and The New York Times about a potential deal between the FTC and Facebook.

Under such a settlement, Facebook would have to complete a more rigorous privacy review of new products and services before launching them, the person said. That's because Facebook may have a good argument that it adequately notified users their data could be given to developers.

Facebook will still be paying out $3 billion to cover settlements with US regulators over privacy issues.

This position would be filled by a party outside of the firm that both Facebook and the FTC agree upon. Even if Facebook were to stop all such future breaches, which is the best it can now do, the existence of past leaked data and databases still poses a concern.

Facebook has said in court papers that its privacy policies in 2014 informed users that their data could be shared.

As The Washington Post notes, negotiations between Facebook and the FTC are ongoing, and the settlement could change drastically before it's final. But the scope of the FTC's probe quickly expanded, following a slew of additional revelations past year about the company's data-sharing relationships with other app developers, device makers and popular websites. The FTC is investigating whether the company violated a 2011 settlement with the agency that was meant to protect users' privacy.

At least one judge has suggested Facebook may have a point.

Facebook's announcement of the expected cost of the settlement, which would be a record in a USA privacy case, is already being criticized for not going far enough. The FTC was looking into Facebook's engagement with all the company Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Despite the possible fine and executive changes, some believe the proposed settlement is not enough.


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