Facebook privacy backlash in FTC’s hands
The grousing about Facebook’s recent privacy changes is now an official complaint.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center, along with eight other groups, filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Thursday urging the regulator to open an investigation into Facebook’s new privacy settings.
Facebook’s privacy changes “violate user expectations, diminish user privacy and contradict Facebook’s own representations,” reads the 29-page complaint, which accuses the world’s No.1 Internet social networking company of engaging in unfair and deceptive practices.
The complaint comes a week after Facebook unveiled sweeping new privacy changes that it said were designed to simplify privacy settings for its 350 million users, and to give users more control over who sees their personal information.
Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt said in an emailed statement that Facebook had discussed its new privacy settings with the FTC prior to making the changes.
“We’ve had productive discussions with dozens of organizations around the world about the recent changes and we’re disappointed that EPIC has chosen to share their concerns with the FTC while refusing to talk to us about them,” Schnitt said.
The big question now is how the FTC will treat the complaint and what kind of power it has to act on such Internet privacy issues.
“It’s got to be a material change. It’s got to mean something to the consumer. It’s got to be retroactive,” he said.
“Of course the companies can reach out to the consumers and if they get consent, it’s fine,” he told Reuters.
(With additional reporting by Diane Bartz)