Myspace and FTC settle privacy dispute

Myspace and FTC settle privacy dispute
Myspace must put a new privacy program in place as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC said Tuesday that it has approved a final order that settles its charges against the social networking company for misrepresenting its protection of users' personal information.

As part of the settlement, Myspace is barred from future misrepresentations about its privacy practices and required to implement a comprehensive privacy program. It also requires that the company have regular, independent, privacy assessments for the next 20 years.

The FTC argues that Myspace violated its privacy policy by providing advertisers with information on users who were viewing particular pages on the site. Advertisers could use the information provided by Myspace to locate a user's profile and obtain their personal information. The agency charged that the deceptive statements in its privacy policy violated federal law.

The FTC filed its complaint against the company in September and both sides reached an agreement in May. However, the settlement was subject to a public comment period before it could be finalized.

Myspace is owned by Irvine, Calif.-based Specific Media, which bought it from News Corp. last year. Research firm comScore Inc. says Myspace had nearly 28 million unique visitors in August in the U.S.

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Further reading: Myspace, comScore
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