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US Social Networking Service Settles FTC Charges

The United States (US) Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that Myspace has agreed to reach a settlement with the FTC regarding allegations of misusing users' personal information for advertising purposes. According to the FTC, "Myspace's privacy policy promised it would not share users' personally identifiable information, or use such information in a way that was inconsistent with the purpose for which it was submitted, without first giving notice to users and receiving their permission to do so", yet provided advertisers with the Friend ID, a persistent unique identifier, "of users who were viewing particular pages on the site". Advertisers were able to use the Friend ID "to locate a user's Myspace profile to obtain personal information publicly available on the profile and, in most instances, the user's full name" and even acquire details of the individual's broader web-browsing activity. The proposed settlement would prevent Myspace from making such misrepresentations to users and would also require it to put in place "a comprehensive privacy program designed to protect consumers' information".

FTC's media release (8 May 2012)
(Source: FTC)

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