Facebook users will want to take special note about the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) just announced final settlement with Facebook.  The FTC had alleged that Facebook had deceived consumers by telling users that they would be able to keep their Facebook personal information private.  However, the FTC said it was just the opposite — that Facebook repeatedly violated its privacy policy by allowing users’ personal information to be shared and made public.

In its’ announcement, the FTC said Facebook will need to demonstrate its compliance with the settlement agreement by “…giving consumers clear and prominent notice and obtaining their express consent before sharing their information beyond their privacy settings, by maintaining a comprehensive privacy program to protect consumers’ information, and by obtaining biennial privacy audits from an independent third party.” (see “FTC Approves Final Settlement with Facebook” at http://www.ftc.gov; August 10).

This is excellent news for Facebook users.  So I suggest that Facebook users go in and reconfirm that the privacy settings you’ve selected are still the ones you want.  Also, make sure you keep alert for any future notices Facebook might post requesting permission to share your information beyond the privacy parameters you’ve selected.  Remember that “express consent” means just that — you have to affirmatively agree that you are allowing Facebook to share your information with others, or in ways, that are beyond the privacy options you’ve already selected.