- May 16, 2012
- Posted by: Seth Heyman
- Category: Internet Law
After an investigation into the privacy practices of MySpace, the Federal Trade Commission agreed to settle pending charges that the Social Networking Service misrepresented the procedures it used to protect its users personal information.
The Myspace social network has millions of users who create and customize online profiles containing substantial personalized content. Myspace assigns a persistent unique identifier, called a “Friend ID,” to each profile created on Myspace. A user’s profile publicly discloses his or her age, gender, profile picture (if the user chooses to include one), display name, and, by default, the user’s full name. User profiles also may contain additional information such as pictures, hobbies, interests, and lists of users’ friends.
The settlement bars Myspace from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy assessments for the next 20 years.
This isn’t the first time that the FTC settled privacy charges against a large Internet company. In 2010, Google agreed to the same provisions in settling similar FTC charges, followed by Facebook in 2011. The latest settlement is part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to ensure that companies adhere to the promises they make in their privacy policies.