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Facebook executive applaud as Mark Zuckerberg rings the NASDAQ opening bell

Facebook and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission officially finalized a privacy settlement today after a period of “public comment.”

The two sides reached the terms of the settlement earlier in November. The FTC brought Facebook to court over changes it made to its privacy policy in 2009. In making these changes, the social network switched user information such as name, friends list, gender, profile picture, and location from their set privacy preferences to default. The FTC said Facebook was at fault for not getting explicit permission from users to change this information, which may have originally been set to “friends only.”

In the settlement, Facebook agreed to be audited by an independent contractor, which will look into all of its privacy practices for the next 20 years. Shortly after in December, Facebook hired two new “co-chief privacy officers,” Erin Egan and Michael Richter. Egan oversees privacy policy, and Richter oversees privacy functions in Facebook’s products.

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Today’s news comes after a period of public comment that was instated by the FTC in November.

In other news, Google settled its suit with the FTC Thursday. The search giant agreed to pay $22.5 million in fines, the largest fine ever given to a single company by the FTC.

via Nasdaq; Image via Nasdaq live stream

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