Facebook remains tied to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settlement that “prohibits the company from changing privacy settings without the affirmative consent of users or misrepresenting the privacy or security of users’ personal information”.
Indeed, as of November 2011, Facebook agreed to bi-annual privacy audits for two decades as part of its deal with the FTC. At the time the US watchdog said Facebook must be clear about changes to its website, including providing a “prominent notice” to users.
The social network was told it should obtain “express consent” before a user’s information is shared beyond any privacy settings already established by an individual connected to Facebook.
In contrast, here in Europe, the office of Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner confirmed late last week that it was seeking “urgent clarification” from Facebook – whose European headquarters are in Dublin – about the changes.