Facebook "made a bunch of mistakes" and now it’s paying for them

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Publisher: FilePlaza

Date added: 30 Nov 2011

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The days in which the social network led a user data's secret market appears to be coming to an end, as Facebook and the FTC reach an agreement over a complaint.

It’s nothing new to say that Facebook has some severe issues when it comes down to privacy. The biggest and most popular social network has been struggling for years to come up with a stronger and more robust privacy system, one that can finally put an end to the angered voices raging against such problems.

While trying to do so, Facebook has introduced too many changes to remember them all, a slow and painful process that evidenced both the site’s cluelessness about privacy and its mean intentions behind data collection. The latter alarmed many of the social network’s users and raised concerns throughout the Internet community until finally the FTC took the matter into its own hands and filed a complaint against the Palo Alto company.

Justice has been served

The FTC eight-count complaint included protests against Facebook misuse of user data, among which the following stand out: sharing personal information with third parties without the users consent, modifying the site’s privacy policies without warning its members and lying about the fact of having a control program for securing and verifying the in-site apps, to name the biggest three.

Finally, the federal government announced on Tuesday that both parties had reached a settlement which requires Facebook to give users the possibility to opt in new changes that affect the way they share contents, prevents the site from making “deceptive privacy claims” and subjects it to regular privacy audits for no less than 20 years.

“We've made a bunch of mistakes”

That’s what Mark Zuckerberg has to say in regard of the new settlement, which seems both rough and fair on Facebook. In a blog post, the social network founder said that the company’s most notable errors were “high profile mistakes, like Beacon four years ago and poor execution as we transitioned our privacy model two years ago”, which would “have often overshadowed much of the good work we've done.”

The message continues by saying that “today's announcement formalizes [Facebook’s] commitment to providing you with control over your privacy and sharing -- and it also provides protection to ensure that your information is only shared in the way you intend”.

It might seem candid or suddenly frank coming from Facebook’s CEO himself, but there’s a strange feeling surrounding the whole Web, that some are giving voice to: what would have happened if the FTC wouldn’t have filed such a complaint? Would Zuckerberg have acknowledged those mistakes he’s now so eager to recognize or is this another of his moves to prevent people from bailing out on the site?

Those are questions that are up to each user to answer along with another decision they have yet to make: if, regardless of the FTC’s upcoming controls, they are willing to keep providing a service that has voluntarily marketed their most precious and personal data just for money's sake.

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