The Federal Trade Commission reportedly forwarded a settlement offer last week to social media behemoth Facebook. The FTC began investigating Facebook over claims that the latter was violating the privacy of millions of users by changing the default value of several privacy settings without providing prior notice to subscribers.
According to published accounts of the content of the proposed settlement agreement, Facebook would agree to obtain advance, express consent from users before sharing any material that was posted prior to the new guidelines.
For example, under terms of the agreement, if a user were to upload or update his online status or personal information, intending it to be viewable only by a select group of “friends,” then Facebook would be prohibited from subsequently making that photo or that updated information accessible to anyone outside the group of people originally authorized by the user.
The Wall Street Journal reported that a source told the newspaper that changes made to privacy settings unilaterally by the popular site resulted in more personal information being shared than users were accustomed to or had consented to in the Terms of Service (TOS). The identity of the source was undisclosed pending final approval of the settlement.
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