This is a “heads up” about Facebook’s latest version of its Privacy Policy.  This version was released about 2 weeks ago and was supposed to take effect on September 5th.  However, that effective date has been postponed because of an inquiry that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has begun.

Facebook users need to be aware of the latest version and the complaints and concerns that were raised — and that prompted the latest FTC inquiry.  As reported by Vindu Goel and Edward Wyatt in the New York Times (www.nytimes.com; “Facebook Privacy Change Is Subject of F.T.C. Inquiry”), the FTC is reviewing the latest version of the Facebook Privacy Policy to see if it violates the 201ll agreement Facebook reached with regulators.

Under that 2011 agreement, Facebook was required to get users’ explicit consent before it uses or exposes their private information to new audiences.  So what’s causing this new concern?  The latest version of Facebook’s Privacy Policy is being read to require that users grant Facebook wide permission to use their personal information in ads as a condition of using Facebook.

Facebook denies that the latest Privacy Policy violates the 2011 agreement.  To the contrary, Facebook has said the new language is required in part by a federal court decision in August 2013 in which the Judge approved some of the wording as part of a settlement in a class-action lawsuit.  That lawsuit was brought by Facebook users who were upset when they saw their names and photos being used to endorse products in Facebook ads that had been sent to their Facebook friends.  These are known as the “sponsored stories.”

Facebook users need to keep alert to see if — without their consent — their names and/or photos are being used in these Facebook ads.  Also be on the lookout for future updates from Facebook about the revised Privacy Policy.   I’ll do the same to keep everyone up to date.