- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Federal Trade Commission said it is investigating Facebook to determine if two of its recently announced privacy rule reforms are in violation of a 2011 agreement.

The federal agency came to terms with Facebook in 2011 over the company’s privacy policies. But now the company is making a couple of changes to its rules — namely, the section that deals with Facebook’s stipulated use of customer photographs and personal information for advertising purposes.

Facebook has already been sued over that issue once and just settled a legal dispute with users who said the company never obtained their permission to take their page data for marketing reasons. Now social media consumers are saying the company is basically encroaching on their personal data once again and have pressured the FTC to step in, The New York Times reported.

Facebook downplayed the latest FTC investigation, in a brief statement to The Times.


“We routinely discuss policy updates with the FTC, and this time is no different,” Facebook spokeswoman Jodi Seth said.

Facebook also said its recent announcement to change its privacy policy is only a clarification, not a true change or expansion of company regulations, to make sure users are aware that by using the social media site, they’ve agreed that the company can use their data for advertising.

Privacy rights groups, however, dispute that characterization and say Facebook is really expanding its reach to control and use customers’ data.