Facebook Privacy: Should FTC Set Social Media Guidelines?

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York.When Facebook first revealed it would share personal profile information with third-party partner sites, users and privacy advocates voiced concerns and anger.
Now a U.S. Senator wants the Federal Trade Commission, the agency that protects consumers from advance-fee schemes, deceptive marketing practices and credit card scams, to consider if federal guidelines are necessary to protect social media site users from privacy violations.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said he asked the FTC to examine the privacy disclosures of social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to make sure they are not misleading or failing to “fully disclose the extent to which they share information.”
He also urged the FTC to provide guidelines for use of private information and prohibit access without user permission.
“It’s vitally important that safeguards are in place that provide users with control over their personal information to ensure they don’t receive unwanted solicitations,” Schumer said. “At the same time, social networking sites need to provide easy to understand disclosures to users on how information they submit is being shared.”
Prior permission access would reverse Facebook’s current controversial plan for third-party site sharing, what the top social network’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls Open Graph.
Users now have to “opt out” of third-party sharing in what Schumer describes as a complicated and confusing process.
Already in effect with a few partner sites, Facebook’s Open Graph alerts Facebook users visiting third-party sites that friends share their interests  across the web, such as a favorite musical act, restaurant or news outlet. The new platform also allows third-party sites to tailor specific information to a visiting Facebook user.
Schumer said that if the FTC “believes it does not have the tools or authority to issue guidelines on privacy disclosures,”  he would be willing to offer legislation.

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