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FTC: Myspace agrees to live up to privacy promises to consumers

Eileen Ambrose

12:01 PM EDT, May 8, 2012

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The FTC announced it has reached a settlement with Myspace, which was accused of sharing consumers’ personal information with advertisers when it promised it wouldn’t do so.

The FTC says the settlement requires Myspace to adopt a “comprehensive” privacy program and to have a regular independent reviews for the next 20 years to make sure they aren’t violating customers’ privacy.

The agency claims that Myspace promised it wouldn’t share personal identifiable information without getting customers’ permission first or share their browsing activity. According to the FTC, Myspace didn’t keep its word and the information was used by advertisers.

I contacted Myspace for comment and will post its response if it comes in.

Here's Myspace's response:

"Consumer privacy has always been a chief concern at Specific Media.  That’s why we’ve been active members of the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), the International Advertising Sales Houses (IASH), the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) and the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). Additionally, we demonstrated our commitment to privacy by becoming one of the earliest adopters of the DAA’s Ad Choices Program, which provides consumers with unprecedented information and control over the delivery of targeted advertisements to their web browsers. 


"Since acquiring Myspace in June 2011, we’ve set out to create a social entertainment experience around connecting, sharing and discovering content. Of equal importance, we have extended this commitment to privacy protection and industry best practice to Myspace.


"Of course, part of creating the ultimate social entertainment destination is allowing users to feel comfortable and secure about the information they share. Myspace has a long history of developing cutting-edge tools for controlling how information is used and shared. Yet, there is always room for improvement. That’s why one of our first actions after acquiring Myspace was to thoroughly examine the company’s business practices and, where applicable, make improvements. A major focus of this review was to ensure that Myspace delivered advertisements to consumers in a manner that safeguarded their privacy. Applying our expertise in online advertising, we successfully improved upon Myspace’s historical practices, bringing the social media platform to the forefront of industry best practice for ad delivery.  


"In order to put any questions regarding Myspace’s pre-acquisition advertising practices behind us, Myspace has reached an agreement with the FTC that makes a formal commitment to our community to accurately disclose how their information is used and shared. Myspace has further agreed to implement a comprehensive privacy program that will minimize future risks to the privacy and security of information. As part of this program, Myspace will conduct biennial independent audits of its privacy practices to ensure that we consistently fulfill this commitment to our community. Similar agreements have been entered into by other industry leaders over the past several months. 


"We’re pleased to share this update with you today, and are proud of our ongoing commitment to be an industry leader in matters of consumer privacy. We will continue to improve Myspace’s services in the coming months, rolling out new products and features that will enhance your ability to connect socially with your friends, while offering you even greater control over the use and disclosure of your information.""