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Facebook + 2011 FTC Decree = $20M in fines?

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Posted on April 17 2018


Bound by the 20 years, circa 2011

Facebook Settles FTC Charges That It Deceived Consumers By Failing To Keep Privacy Promises…

“The FTC’s eight-count complaint against Facebook is part of the agency’s ongoing effort to make sure companies live up to the privacy promises they make to American consumers”

“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.”

Data points of the FTC v Facebook Complaint:

  • In December 2009, Facebook changed its website so certain information that users may have designated as private – such as their Friends List – was made public. They didn’t warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.
  • Facebook represented that third-party apps that users’ installed would have access only to user information that they needed to operate. In fact, the apps could access nearly all of users’ personal data – data the apps didn’t need.
  • Facebook told users they could restrict sharing of data to limited audiences – for example with “Friends Only.” In fact, selecting “Friends Only” did not prevent their information from being shared with third-party applications their friends used.
  • Facebook had a “Verified Apps” program & claimed it certified the security of participating apps. It didn’t.
  • Facebook promised users that it would not share their personal information with advertisers. It did.
  • Facebook claimed that when users deactivated or deleted their accounts, their photos and videos would be inaccessible. But Facebook allowed access to the content, even after users had deactivated or deleted their accounts.
  • Facebook claimed that it complied with the U.S.- EU Safe Harbor Framework that governs data transfer between the U.S. and the European Union. It didn’t.


Pages 1-3 of the original FTC 8 count 2011 Complaint, found here:  FTC Facebook 2011 Complaint



Facebook is BOUND to this FTC settle for 20, YES 20 years, effective 2011, meaning until 2031. See page 6 Section V



The proposed order also contains standard record-keeping provisions to allow the FTC to monitor Facebook compliance with its order. Facebook’s privacy practices were the subject of complaints filed with the FTC by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and a coalition of consumer groups. On November 29, 2011: the FTC voted 4/0 to accept the terms of the order.

Here’s a link to the adopted order FTC Facebook Order, published in FR 12


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