FTC Finalizes Privacy Policy Settlement with Myspace

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has voted to approve a final order settling FTC charges that Myspace misrepresented its protection of users' personal information. Among other things, the settlement bars Myspace from future misrepresentations about its privacy practices, requires the company to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy assessments every 2 years for the next 20 years.

According to the FTC, Myspace enabled advertisers to match a user's browsing history with personal information, such as their name, age and gender. The FTC concluded that this practice violated Myspace's privacy policy, which promised not to share users' personal information with third parties without first receiving their permission.

Once upon a time Myspace was the dominant social networking site, but over the years its shine has faded and it now lags far behind competitors like Facebook. This settlement again shows that the FTC will continue to hold website operators responsible for the contents of their privacy policies.

*Mr. MacDonald was formerly a lawyer with Olshan's IP Department.

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