Facebook settles FTC lawsuit, commits to 20 years of privacy audits

Facebook reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission today in regards to the privacy-related lawsuit that accused the social network of "unfair and deceptive" business practices. The FTC lawsuit claimed that the company repeatedly shared user information with the public despite telling users that their information would be kept private.

The settlement requires Facebook to go through a series of privacy policy assessments, starting with the first review to take place within the next 180 days followed by audits every two years for the next 20 years. Facebook must also appoint privacy-focused employees to run a comprehensive privacy program, ensuring that user privacy and privacy risks are addressed in current and future products.

In a long blog post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that many of the FTC complaints have already been addressed and that the company has today appointed Erin Egan and Michael Richter as the its two Chief Privacy Officers.

"Facebook has always been committed to being transparent about the information you have stored with us — and we have led the Internet in building tools to give people the ability to see and control what they share," wrote Zuckerberg.

No fine was levied on Facebook, as the FTC does not have the authority to do so. "The most important thing here is to ensure consumer privacy going forward," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. The settlement is still waiting for a full approval by the FTC.

[via TheVerge]