Facebook near privacy settlement
Washington - Facebook will agree to privacy audits for 20 years under a proposed settlement with US regulators over charges it engaged in deceptive behaviour when changing privacy settings, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The newspaper, quoting people familiar with the situation, said the proposed settlement is awaiting final approval from the commissioners of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The Journal said that in the future, Facebook would be required to obtain "express affirmative consent" from its users if it makes "material retroactive changes" to privacy settings.
The settlement would require Facebook, which has more than 800 million members, to submit to independent privacy audits for 20 years, the newspaper said.
Google agreed to similar privacy audits in March in a settlement with the FTC over Google Buzz, the social networking tool it rolled out in 2010 which spawned a slew of privacy complaints.
The Journal said the settlement between Facebook and the FTC stems from a probe launched in December 2009 following a complaint by privacy groups over changes to Facebook settings which made aspects of a user's profile public by default.