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Facebook Settles With FTC, Admits Privacy Violations

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the present-your-wrist-for-a-slapping dept.

Facebook 138

Animats writes "Facebook has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public. The settlement is soft on Facebook; there are no fines or criminal penalties. According to the FTC, 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. Facebook didn't warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.' Among the other complaints (PDF), '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.'" The settlement demands that Facebook avoid any new deceptive privacy claims, and also that users must give explicit permission for changes to be made to their privacy preferences. Facebook will be audited every two years for the next two decades to make sure they're holding up their end of the settlement. In a lengthy statement on Facebook's blog, Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that they'd made mistakes.

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138 comments

FTC is doing a good job (2, Interesting)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207148)

Not only did they slap Facebook for privacy violations, but also Google a few months ago. They IMO are the two largest privacy violators on the internet.

Now, maybe someone at Facebook will read this and notice: Please fix the chat so that if I have set it offline, it will not quickly popup me as online and then back offline when I later visit Facebook. It seems like a stupid bug. It also leads to stupid private messages (especially from my mother -_-) when I just want to check updates.

Other than that, Facebook has done a pretty good job. It's still the most useful social network on the internet, and I doubt Google+ will be ever able to compete with it.

Re:FTC is doing a good job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38207220)

This must be 4chan and you must be trolling.

Re:FTC is doing a good job (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38207338)

Please fix the chat so that if I have set it offline, it will not quickly popup me as online and then back offline when I later visit Facebook. It seems like a stupid bug. It also leads to stupid private messages (especially from my mother -_-) when I just want to check updates.

FAIL. Check your preferences.

Whoa!? You're mom's on FB? Is she...hot?

Re:FTC is doing a good job (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207360)

Not really. Yes, I have my mom on Facebook. On the same account, I also have my thai wh.. ladies added. Go figure.

Re:FTC is doing a good job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38208100)

Everyone's mom is on facebook. Grandmas are on facebook.

Re:FTC is doing a good job (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207550)

So sue them. Start a class action suit. There's plenty of material there to work with, thanks to the FTC.

Re:FTC is doing a good job (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208856)

Class actions are even worse! The lawyers get huge paydays while the victims get a coupon towards their next purchase with the company that screwed them just adding insult to injury!

As for TFA let me guess...another slap on the wrist? In the past decade any power the regulatory agencies had has been taken away or bought out by bribery. I doubt very seriously you'll ever see another big court case like the MSFT one in the 90s, Citizens United saw to that. These slaps on the wrist are just the cost of doing business now and I frankly wouldn't be surprised if the supermegacorps have a "STFU fund" set up just for dealing with those "pesky" rules and regs.

Re:FTC is doing a good job (2)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207948)

Not only did they slap Facebook [on the back] for privacy violations, but also Google

They're getting another two years to put things in order before the first audit, then they get to do a half-year-screw-everyone, half-year-clean-up-the-mess between year-long audits.

Re:FTC is doing a good job (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208156)

Not only did they slap Facebook [on the back] for privacy violations, but also Google

They're getting another two years to put things in order before the first audit, then they get to do a half-year-screw-everyone, half-year-clean-up-the-mess between year-long audits.

Further: The settlement is soft on Facebook; there are no fines or criminal penalties.

So in addition to getting away Scott free, they have two years to clean up their act, by which time the opt-ins will be in place but so disguised and muted that users will fall into the same trap.

Facebook users don't care about privacy, the whole point of Facebook is and always has been a meat market method of self promotion. Facebook knows this and will simply make it so limiting to do anything except opt-in that most users will simply check the Opt-In-to-Everything box.

Re:FTC is doing a good job (0)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208428)

Remember that this settlement goes back to actions in 2008-2009. They have been compliant with opt-ins since then, as users complained about it a lot (which is why you still see it on Slashdot). So no, it won't take two years for them to put them in place. They already are.

However, I would like FTC to take a look at Google's practices with Google+. There everything is public on default. Hell, the moment you sign up your details are immediately available on Google because your profile is public by default. You have to change it back to make your name non-searchable on Google. Whole Google and their social network is a much larger issue than Facebook now.

Re:FTC is doing a good job (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38208716)

+3 insightful. Wow...

4chan seems a better option lately compared to slashdot which has turned into apple whoring google bashing fanboi infested retarded system.

Mixed Feelings. (5, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207206)

On the one hand, good on the FTC. Especially for the followup reviews.

On the other hand, this once again proves that it's far easier to just do something contractually and ethically questionable yet massively profitable and wiggle out of the consequences later (especially if you've the money for a squadron of lawyers) than to do things above the board from the get go.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (2, Insightful)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207252)

What should FTC have done? Fine them for some hundred thousands? Facebook has the cash. Shut down the company? Facebook is based in Ireland, and it would mean lots of shit to many people (like it or not, Facebook has become part of life for almost every human on earth)

Re:Mixed Feelings. (5, Insightful)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207336)

Too big to fail eh? What you do is fine them. Hit them in the pocket book. That's what you are suppose to do.

FYI Facebook is not based in Ireland. That's for accounting practices.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (2)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207400)

Obviously, but it's also their legal base. As it legally stands now, they outsource their programming and datacenter jobs to US. How the world changes... :)

Re:Mixed Feelings. (1)

inject_hotmail.com (843637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207842)

Obviously, but it's also their legal base. As it legally stands now, they outsource their programming and datacenter jobs to US. How the world changes... :)

I'd disagree a little bit here. I'd say that 'outsourcing' as we all conceive it is almost gone. What we have now is sector-based fulfillment. Where something is done/created has more to do with the fact that it can't really be done somewhere else anymore...the infrastructure has been dismantled (by design). Natural resources come from X, production comes from Y, bits of service come from Z and only where required is service provided locally. Of course, this doesn't necessarily apply to small business, but, by in large this is the new state of employment.

I predict that even close-contact sorts of jobs (e.g. doctors, sales staff) will be replaced by mechanical devices controlled remotely by off-site personnel...imagine your doctor is in another country controlling a robot (oh wait, that already exists).

Re:Mixed Feelings. (4, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207484)

"Facebook is based in Ireland"

Huh? No, they're not [docstoc.com], although they could certainly have a subsidiary incorporated there.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (2)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207492)

Facebook has become part of life for almost every human on earth

How do we change that?

Re:Mixed Feelings. (2, Interesting)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207610)

Why should we change it? To what? I'm happy to see how easy it is keep contact with people and get to know new interesting places and guys and girls. This is especially true if you travel a lot, like I do. I noticed it's incredibly easy to use the connections you have on Facebook to find new stuff, be it other people, places, or even restaurants. I honestly don't think we had it any better before.

For all its faults, Facebook has done incredible job at connecting just normal people all over the world. No matter if they related to you, your friends you have met somewhere, friends you haven't seen in a while or totally new people. It really has brought people closer to each other, and introduced people to other ones that share the same interests. You just have to know how to use it.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38207732)

Why should we change it? To what? I'm happy to see how easy it is keep contact with people and get to know new interesting places and guys and girls. This is especially true if you travel a lot, like I do. I noticed it's incredibly easy to use the connections you have on Facebook to find new stuff, be it other people, places, or even restaurants. I honestly don't think we had it any better before. For all its faults, Facebook has done incredible job at connecting just normal people all over the world. No matter if they related to you, your friends you have met somewhere, friends you haven't seen in a while or totally new people. It really has brought people closer to each other, and introduced people to other ones that share the same interests. You just have to know how to use it.

AC's Observation: the more technically knowledgable a person is, the less likely they are to use Facebook.

Oh and this may surprise you... but people have met each other and gotten to know one another long before there was Facebook or even computers. People like you talk as if this was totally un-possible and unimaginable prior to Facebook selflessly revolutionizing your social life.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (0)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207858)

Technically knowledgeable doesn't really have much to do with it. I know plenty of such persons using Facebook. That attitude is just holier-than-thou attitude taken by geeky persons who cannot act socially, and determine that their own inabilities are only caused by everyone else just being so much stupider than they are.

I'm quite aware people met and gotten to know each other before Facebook or computers. But it happened it much closer circles than now. Now you can get to know people that really interest you. Hell, I have a tons of south korean girls added on my Facebook who I regularly play some games with or chat with and think it's fun. How easy would had it been before? I would had have to travel to south korea for that. While I like traveling, it's not as convenient as meeting them on Facebook.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38208020)

Technically knowledgeable doesn't really have much to do with it. I know plenty of such persons using Facebook. That attitude is just holier-than-thou attitude taken by geeky persons who cannot act socially, and determine that their own inabilities are only caused by everyone else just being so much stupider than they are.

Heh look how defensive you get. One cannot make an observation without you "finding" (making up) personal fault with the observer (that you know nothing about). I bet they torture kittens too, those holier-than-thou bastards!

Or it could be that people who don't regularly work with and study technology don't understand modern database technology and just how easily such information can be abused and how efficiently bits of information that are innocuous by themselves can be aggregated and cross-referenced to learn a lot more about the person than they intended for you to know. Does that offend you in some manner as well? Want to make character judgments about me for pointing it out?

I mean, if I had said "experienced auto mechanics tend not to buy Brand X cars because the engines have much lower reliability than most of the competition" would you attribute that to the inherent smugness and social incompetence of all auto mechanics? Or would you concede that people who work in the industry might have more firsthand knowledge than everyone else and that this might affect their decision making? Does anyone have to be stupid for this to be true, or can you admit that some people are in a better position to have certain facts than others who don't routinely work with the thing in question?

The way you responded calls your own social skills into question, actually. You clearly cannot have a disagreement with someone you don't even know without that person being some kind of terrible human being. I hope you eventually come to understand how unnecessary all of this is.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (0)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208478)

There are countless amount of people who understand databases, computer security and all that fully well. You sound like this is something new to you. Yeah, it's incredible. But it's not a reason to bash other persons because we also see other values in those things. These persons, and everyone else, does too.

http://xkcd.com/610/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Mixed Feelings. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38207760)

(like it or not, Facebook has become part of life for almost every human on earth)

Somewhere between 800 and 900 million[1] is not "almost every human on earth".

[1] http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics

Re:Mixed Feelings. (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207942)

In the beginning of 2011 there was 2 billion internet users [internetworldstats.com] on earth, so it's half of that. Granted, the percentage is lower in Russia and China (because they have their own Facebook versions) but it is also higher percentage in western countries.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (3, Informative)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208782)

Almost every human on planet = roughly 6 billion people (out of 6.7 billion estimated)

so 0.8 billion is almost same as 6 billion. Things you learn on slashdot these days.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (2)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207996)

So, What are we to do just let them do whatever the hell they want to do?? Yes they should face fines from any profit they have. No they shouldn't be put out of business ...this time. But what should we do the next time? its already the what the 5Th time already they have been caught lieing.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208054)

(like it or not, Facebook has become part of life for almost every human on earth)

Just over 10%, actually. Significant, but by far not 'most'.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (0)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208524)

With current figures, 15%. With 2 billion people on the internet, Facebook has almost half as its users. China and Russia take the percentage off a bit, as they have their own FB clones.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208406)

What should FTC have done? Fine them for some hundred thousands?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disgorgement_(law) [wikipedia.org]
Admitting guilt is rare these days, but it's not an alternative to actually preventing companies from profiting off their bad acts.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208700)

But nothing Facebook did was actually illegal. FTC is merely a consumer protection agency, not a law enforcement one. They settled their arguments with Facebook because they found a common ground without going to courts. If FTC would had have a better standing on the issue, they most likely would have asked for "fine" settlement too as it would had made them look better. But they didn't have.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (4, Insightful)

dr.banes (823348) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207278)

On the one hand, good on the FTC. Especially for the followup reviews.

On the other hand, this once again proves that it's far easier to just do something contractually and ethically questionable yet massively profitable and wiggle out of the consequences later (especially if you've the money for a squadron of lawyers) than to do things above the board from the get go.

Yeah, better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207898)

On the other hand, this once again proves that it's far easier to just do something contractually and ethically questionable yet massively profitable and wiggle out of the consequences later (especially if you've the money for a squadron of lawyers) than to do things above the board from the get go.

Well, if the users of facebook are stupid enough to hand over all that personal information to a website they don't really know (sure everyone uses it, but how do you trust them?), it's their fault.

Facebook doesn't demand you fill in your phone number when you log in (unlike say a search giant). Facebook's not saying you have to update your status everytime something interesting happens, or you must post every photo you take to it. Or share every thought with it.

Hell, the moment you hand over information, it's not your information anymore. Or like the old adage goes, "never post online what you don't want the world to know". "Privacy" settings are bogus on all sites - they're a marketing gimmick used to tempt people into revealing more to a stranger than they would normally (really, would you tell some guy on the street your life story?).

Especially since the notion of a social network is to share information. Once someone else knows a secret, it's no longer a secret. And a person can easily repost/retweet/resend/forward anything and everything, overriding your privacy settings.

Insisting on Facebook having privacy controls is like implementing DRM on a website. And we know how that goes.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208846)

The difference is that Google sells views and Facebook sells information. Both are potentially worrying, but of the two I'd be a lot more concerned about Facebook.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208996)

Facebook doesn't sell information any more than Google does. Hell, it's both of their most valuable assets and they guard it as much as they can. They both sell ads. And collect information, for themselves.

Re:Mixed Feelings. (4, Insightful)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207960)

Agreed. The damage is done and irreversible and Facebook is getting off pretty much free for it. All of those companies that had accessed that data is sitting on top of it now and can do whatever they would like with it.

Facebook is evil and parasitic (1, Informative)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207232)

When will people get it?

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (5, Interesting)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207268)

Probably never.

Why? Because they fill a niche, and do it well. And the thing about social networks is this: whoever is the biggest is probably going to stay the biggest at this point. It's no good joining a social network that none of your friends use. And to some folks, Facebook is the internet.

Not saying this is a good thing, or right - just my observations on the way that things are.

Facebook is stupid and bannal (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207658)

FB is like AOL was in the 90s: A ubiquitous, shitty walled garden that provided you access to a bunch of similar low tech jerks and annoying worthless adds, and like AOL, it will fade into nothingness when the whole 'social networking' craze dies down.

If I could short FB stock over a twenty year period, I would make a killing.

Re:Facebook is stupid and bannal (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207692)

It was the 20 year time period that really made me wonder. This is the internet...odds are FB won't be around for 10 years, let alone 20.

Re:Facebook is stupid and bannal (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207762)

That period was beginning of the internet. Everything new is unstable. By now internet has matured and stabilized, a lot. Just like Google will be around in 20 years, so will be Facebook and even Microsoft. Well, unless the western world collapses and China takes over the world and we will all be Baiduing soon. But by then you probably won't care about Facebook being gone.

Re:Facebook is stupid and bannal (5, Insightful)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207844)

It's even simpler than that. There will soon be a generation of kids who wouldn't be caught dead on the same social network as their parents. Eventually, we will get to a point where Facebook will be for old people, just like email is considered by the under-25 set now.

Now you kids get off my lawn!

Re:Facebook is stupid and bannal (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208812)

Facebook is almost already for old people and housewives with shitload of kids pictures to show to the old people.

Re:Facebook is stupid and bannal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38208140)

Something better will come along and swoop people off the Facebook prison island.

Re:Facebook is stupid and bannal (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208096)

I agree that they are like AOL, but don't agree that social networking will "die down" anymore than "getting online" would ever die down.

Facebook will eventually be replaced (or be made relatively irrelevant) by an open solution that works better and fosters innovation, just as the web as we know it made AOL's proprietary environment irrelevant.

Re:Facebook is stupid and bannal (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208560)

Facebook will eventually be replaced (or be made relatively irrelevant) by an open solution

Like Diaspora?

One of the Facebook's power is that it is a somewhat closed platform. The UI is standardized, there is not shit like with MySpace pages. The privacy things are global. Everything works the same way, it always works good and fast and most importantly, everyone is there.

I don't see what an open source platform would provide better. And I mean actual things for users, not some technical stuff or features that only geeks care about.

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207690)

They took that niche from myspace. Who would have thought that was going anywhere? Pre-fb you would have had to say the same about myspace, just sayin.

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207852)

No, I don't believe that I would have said that.

As CmdrPony noted above, the internet has stabilized quite a bit. (For that matter, the industry has a well, and we have a lot of corporations that are here to stay; there is little chance of them being bumped out of their niche at this point.)

MySpace might have made themselves more than a stepping stone to social networking stabilization, but they did not. Facebook, on the other hand, has done so.

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38208050)

haha.. people always seem so confident that their beliefs are the one truth and that what they've come to think of as the basis of their world will stay that way forever.

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208558)

Well, it's really not about technological beliefs; it's about international business trends and ownership in conjunction with the fundamental principles of what makes a good social network. And as noted previously, I'd define the latter as simply the network that (1) allows easy communication, and (2) where everyone is. The first part can be replicated; much harder to pry people away when all their friends/etc are not there yet.

This is a field where momentum counts. Especially now that there's been a lot of stabilization of the net.

Course, I could be very wrong, and might be saying that 640K is enough for anybody....

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (2)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208322)

As CmdrPony noted above, the internet has stabilized quite a bit. ... MySpace might have made themselves more than a stepping stone to social networking stabilization, but they did not. Facebook, on the other hand, has done so.

Facebook did it by initially providing a site with stable appearance instead of personalized backgounds and music loading on everyone's pages. Then they started changing things, and rapidly. I'm seeing my non-technical friend drop facebook lately because they're fed up with the changes (not the privacy changes that I disliked, but instead UI changes that confuse them).

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (1)

adisakp (705706) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208180)

Probably never.

Why? Because they fill a niche, and do it well. And the thing about social networks is this: whoever is the biggest is probably going to stay the biggest at this point. It's no good joining a social network that none of your friends use. And to some folks, Facebook is the internet.

Probably never???

At one point a lot of people thought AOL was "The Internet". Then MySpace.com was "The Internet". Other sites like Orkut, Buzz, Waves, etc may have tried and failed to replace FB but FB replaced AOL and MySpace. I would hardly consider Facebook to immortal or irreplaceable. It's time for being "The Internet" depends solely upon the whims of fickle users.

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (1)

curty (42764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208186)

Just like the network called the Internet, there is no reason why online social networks need a central hub. Peer to peer social networks exist, as a concept at least.

I imagine that if the popularity of social networking had been foreseen by the developers of the nascent Internet, discussion of "whoever is the biggest" social network would be as ridiculous as asking who is the biggest Email network, or the biggest WWW network.

My hope is that one day there won't be a "biggest" social network, there will be only one.

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (1)

Tasha26 (1613349) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207304)

When they get a goal in life or make enough money that friends and social b.s. network becomes an unimportant part of their life...

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207334)

Friends become unimportant part of life and that you have better goals to pursuit? That's really healthy talk.

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207464)

This is pointing out one of the many problems with social network BS: The word "friend" has been hijacked and turned into "somebody you kinda sorta know from somewhere" rather than "somebody you choose to spend significant amounts of time with but isn't a family member".

Nobody has 300 real friends, I promise you that much.

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207564)

Well what would be more.. well, friendly, name then? Acquaints? Doesn't really have the same sound to it.

For that matter, it's your own preferences. I don't friend people I don't know or consider to be "friends". However, it's a loose category. Some I know better, some I don't. And please, I don't want to categorize them. I'm not that nerdy. Friend is a good all-purpose term.

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (1)

Tasha26 (1613349) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207886)

I agree with @dkleinsc, 300 or 5000 friends what is this b.s? You can have 5-7 real friends. The others are imaginary. It's a bit "complex." :)

The stupid ones never will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38207676)

Facebook made mistakes. But one mistake *I* didn't make was putting my data on facebook.

When I actually wind up needing a social site, I will put up on only the data that is actually required to meet the need. Until then, it is nothing more than a way for me to give total strangers potentially-abusable information about myself.

But for the unwashed masses, it is all shiny, so consequences be damned.

Re:The stupid ones never will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38208230)

Nor do I own a television!

Re:Facebook is evil and parasitic (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208028)

people can't even comprehend half the shit they do. I don't think people will ever get it.

Meanwhile, when will facebook go out of business/dwindle/etc? give it 2 to maybe 5 years maximum.

Mistakes? (5, Insightful)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207248)

Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that they'd made mistakes.

Because they don't believe they did wrong. They really believe they made mistakes, the first of which was "get caught."

Re:Mistakes? (3, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207410)

Well, neither does the FTC really. If they did, they might have introduced some actual penalties rather than a slap on the wrist.

Re:Mistakes? (2)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207756)

Audited. Now THAT'S gonna fix 'em!

Every two years. Quaking in their slippers.

Right. Nearly meaningless. The next step, in three years (it will take a full year of investigation), will be to fine them some insignificant amount and make them promise, again, to not do that.

Truth is, the FTC has little incentive to actually punish bad behavior or compel corporations to stop their bad behavior:

- If they were truly effective, not only would corporations stop behaving badly, but they would therefore have very little to do at the FTC; not many new complaints, having seen what a $2B fine against Facebook, for instance, as if it would ever happen, really meant.

- If they were trying to be effective, the Congressional delegation from California (where Facebook actually lives) and Delaware (where they are very likely incorporated) would crush the FTC's budget like a roach. And move enforcement to some agency they could more properly 'manage'.

- And if that all weren't enough, Facebook would let its IPO benefactors know, many of whom will be Congressmen and Senators, that this is not good for the nation, users, government, the economy, and those very same representatives who profited well indeed from that IPO. And not necessarily in that order.

Another ineffective response from the FTC, and predictably so. Perhaps the EU can do better? Non? Plus Ãa change, eh?

Re:Mistakes? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208956)

Argh... this mod system doesn't let you change a moderation when the mouse slips... so I have to comment to undo a negative rating when I was intending a positive one....
(and now everyone knows who one of today's mods is)

Wouldn't trust Zuckerberg to watch my dog (5, Insightful)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207272)

I wouldn't trust Zuckerberg to watch my dog and yet 100s of millions of people entrust his company with their most personal information. Odd, that.

Re:Wouldn't trust Zuckerberg to watch my dog (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207472)

In fact, close to one billion soon. It's now at 850 million people.

Re:Wouldn't trust Zuckerberg to watch my dog (2)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207490)

I would love to trust Zuckerberg to watch my dog. She'd probably bite his face off, and the would would forever be better off.

Re:Wouldn't trust Zuckerberg to watch my dog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38208674)

oops . . . informative is right above funny and I click too fast. I could have posted non-AC but it was a positive, if inaccurate mod, so I'll leave it as is.

Re:Wouldn't trust Zuckerberg to watch my dog (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208004)

Well, only of they put it in there to begin with. I always tell people not to trust big business no matter what they tell you. Do you really think Zuckerberg values the interest of someone who won't make his earnings in 10 lifetimes?

Re:Wouldn't trust Zuckerberg to watch my dog (2)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208178)

company with their most personal information

Yeah, because I have my bank account details and medical information on Facebook.

My "most personal information" that Facebook has is "I washed the dog yesterday" and "the potato plants are doing well." What are they going to do - try and sell me pooch shampoo? Oh no - the horror!

Wussies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38207396)

What a bunch of wussies.

An interesting penalty... (4, Insightful)

homsar (2461440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207440)

Facebook broke the law. As punishment, Facebook has to promise not to do it again, and be monitored to make sure it keeps its promise. I guess Facebook is only seven years old, and since companies have the same rights as people (apparently), I guess it makes sense they are given punishment befitting a person of that age.

Re:An interesting penalty... (3, Informative)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207686)

Facebook didn't break the law, and FTC isn't a law enforcement agency. They just broke practices FTC didn't like, and as FTC still does have some saying (just because of their standing), Facebook agreed to such settlement. Settlement.

Re:An interesting penalty... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208468)

Facebook didn't break the law,

Well that kind of depends on whether or not we're treating EULAS & privacy policies as legally binding or not.
But I guess we only use privacy policies and EULAS to browbeat the consumer, not to hold companies accountable.

Every two YEARS?? (3, Insightful)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207442)

In Facebook's case those audits should probably be about once every two months... There was a new violation (location tracking) on the iOS mobile app just this week.

A meaningless claim (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38207524)

Facebook represented that third-party apps that users' installed would have access only to user information that they needed to operate.

Who gets to decide what user information the app needs? The app developer, of course. And how do they make the claim that they need certain information? By trying to access it.

For example, if I write an app that checks your SSN against a database of known compromised SSN's in order to alert you if yours has been compromised, the app needs your SSN, doesn't it? But really, what's the difference between this app and one that grabs your SSN in order to attempt to steal your identity? Both apps "need" your SSN, and Facebook's claim doesn't exclude the latter.

So Facebook's claim that third-party apps would only have access to information they need is therefore equivalent to claiming that third party apps would only have access to information that they ask for. In other words, utterly meaningless. It's a weaselly statement that tricks users into thinking Facebook is protecting its users privacy, when really they're doing nothing of the sort.

Re:A meaningless claim (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207704)

So Facebook's claim that third-party apps would only have access to information they need is therefore equivalent to claiming that third party apps would only have access to information that they ask for. In other words, utterly meaningless. It's a weaselly statement that tricks users into thinking Facebook is protecting its users privacy, when really they're doing nothing of the sort.

If you had ever developed Facebook apps or read their API, you would see that the information apps get are separated into different classes. All of which permissions Facebook (and solely Facebook) will ask from the user in order for the app to get access to them.

What kind of time scale does the FTC use? (5, Insightful)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207538)

Every two years for two decades!?!?!??!

I bet all my private information that Facebook won't be around in 20 years. And 2 years is enough time to cause a ridiculous amount of damage when you have a billion users.

I bet they're quaking in their repentant boots.

Re:What kind of time scale does the FTC use? (2)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208202)

They probably are - those terms are much worse for them than something like "every month for six months". The latter would require them to clean-up shop in the short term, get past the audits, and the deal's done. Those FTC audits are long-term liabilities that are going to be hanging over Facebook for the next twenty years. They're going to have a lot bigger impact than a bit of short-term oversight.

Privacy on the internet? Pfft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38207562)

There is no such thing as privacy on the internet. If you have a photo or piece of information or whatever, that you're not prepared to potentially let everyone see, don't post it online. Ever.

planned by facebook? (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207582)

Who else thinks that facebook knew they would get in trouble for this, yet realized they would make more money by profiting from it in the mean-time and only changing their policy once officially caught? (Ford Pinto-style).

Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38207592)

So, nothing happened. Nothing to see here, move along.

Comedy gold (2)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207758)

From Mark Zuckerberg's post:

As a matter of fact, privacy is so deeply embedded in all of the development we do that .....
....These privacy principles are written very deeply into our code.

You've gotta admit, the guy does have a good sense of humor ;P

Facebook Shenanigans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38207944)

I just read this same article on a local news site. Over on the right were several links to other stories on the same site in a box called "Facebook social plugin". When I hovered the mouse over those links, my browser showed me that they were "safe", that is, that clicking on them wouldn't cause me to leave the page. However, when I actually clicked on them, I discovered that Facebook had circumvented my browser's safety feature to hide the fact that those links actually routed me to www.facebook.com first. The FTC's job has barely even begun.

Never. (1, Insightful)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38207982)

Facebook will never hold to privacy agreements OR to FTC/court rulings, because it is far too profitable to break those agreements or rulings. After all, there are no real consequences for doing so. Given that Zuckerberg holds all of Facebook's users in open,. sneering contempt (in the same way that many ./ commenters do), what possible motive would he have to comply? It's not like the FTC is ever going to touch him.

Or, to restate: there is a word for law enforcement without teeth. That word is "bitch". The FTC is Zuckerberg's bitch; they've conclusively proved it.

Assholes remain assholes until there is a credible threat of physical violence; nothing else motivates them. Robber barons remain robber barons unless there is a credible threat of having everything they own seized and sold; nothing else motivates them. Right now, there is no credibility to anything that the FTC says, so nothing's changed.

Re:Never. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38208830)

Zuckerberg holds all of Facebook's users in open,. sneering contempt (in the same way that many ./ commenters do)

The difference between the average /.er's contempt for FB users and Zuckerberg's is that he uses that contempt to justify exploiting them as a means to his own end. It's no different than writing malware - there are plenty of nerds out there that do it and make a living from it [wired.com] - but I have yet to hear them try to justify their actions on /. or hear anyone stick up for that type of behavior. It's not a sin to hold a person in contempt, but it's the greatest sin to use another as merely a means to one's end.

The Truly Corrupt (2)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38208026)

"Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that they'd made mistakes."

Translation: "We got caught"

"The settlement is soft on Facebook; there are no fines or criminal penalties."

Translation: "We paid the FTC boss off or our backers are too powerful to screw with"

"Facebook will be audited every two years for the next two decades to make sure they're holding up their end of the settlement."

Translation: "We expect to get bought off every 2 years if you want us to cover for you"

Wikileaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38208118)

Are you listening, Wikileaks, Manning? The USA has updated its common-law penalties for sharing and publishing information that you have agreed to keep private.

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