Facebook And FTC Finalize Privacy Settlement

Facebook's settlement with the Federal Trade Commission was finalized Friday. As part of the deal, Facebook must make it clear to users when the social network shares their information beyond what their privacy settings mandate, operate a program to protect users' privacy and get users' approval before sharing their information.

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Facebook will also be subject to an independent inspection of its privacy practices every two years for the next two decades.

Facebook didn't have to admit to any wrongdoing as part of the deal. Failure to meet the terms of the settlement could prove costly for the company -- each violation could set them back $16,000.

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"We intend to monitor closely Facebook?s compliance with the order and will not hesitate to seek civil penalties for any violations," said the FTC in a statement.

Importantly, the FTC's privacy order, which was approved on a 3-1 vote, also covers third-party apps.

"These provisions make clear that Facebook will be liable for conduct by apps that contradicts Facebook?s promises about the privacy or security practices of these apps," the FTC said.

SEE ALSO: What the Facebook FTC Settlement Means for Social Media

Facebook's settlement with the FTC was first announced in November of last year. The original complaint, made in 2009, alleged that Facebook changed users' privacy settings without first alerting them and that it shared users' information with third-party advertising firms.

Facebook has already amped up its efforts to educate users about protecting their privacy between the of the original complaint and the current day.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FTC has been positing itself as a privacy watchdog in the digital age. The finalized Facebook settlement comes only a day after the FTC fined Google $22.5 million over privacy charges related to Apple's Safari browser. MySpace has also recently settled a charge with the FTC that it misled users on their privacy.

What do you think of the terms of the settlement? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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