Consumer Groups to FTC: Probe Facebook's Privacy Policies

By Jessica Greene
|  Friday, May 7, 2010  |  Updated 11:01 AM PDT
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Consumer Groups to FTC: Probe Facebook's Privacy Policies

Anthony Stancl allegedly exchanged pictures with at least 31 teenaged boys, then tried to blackmail half of them into meeting him for sex acts. .

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Let's face it, Facebook isn't exactly the kind of place you go to keep secrets. From accidentally oversharing friends' expected private information and pictures, to the most recent "secret" chats between users exposing details to the cyber world, the world's biggest social network has earned their share of negative publicity.

Now there an effort underway to get the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the Palo Alto-based company.

Several consumer groups filed a complaint on Wednesday, urging the FTC to investigate Facebook's privacy practices and force the company to take steps to avoid more of the breaches.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, kicked off the effort last week and so far, 15 consumer groups have signed the complaint.

Electronic Privacy Information Center Executive Director Marc Rotenberg said Facebook's recent changes relating to their chat feature, "violate user expectations, diminish user privacy, and contradict Facebook's own representatives."

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes sent us the following comment on the case:

"Our new features are providing beneficial new social experiences to people around the world that are transparent, consistent with user expectations, and in full compliance with legal requirements."

Noyes points out that Facebook's "connections" concept existed even before the latest privacy issue, though Fan pages and friendships. Upcoming changes will expand users' ability to join Fan pages and groups all under the direction of the user, according to Facebook.

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