F.T.C. Settles Privacy Issue At Facebook

Ryan Calo, Director of Privacy and Robotics, spoke with Somini Sengupta of the New York Times on the settlement between Facebook and the F.T.C. and how it was necessary for the upcoming I.P.O.

Accusing Facebook of engaging in "unfair and deceptive" practices, the federal government on Tuesday announced a broad settlement that requires the company to respect the privacy wishes of its users and subjects it to regular privacy audits for the next 20 years.

The order, announced by the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, stems largely from changes that Facebook made to the way it handled its users’ information in December 2009. The commission contended that Facebook, without warning its users or seeking consent, made public information that users had deemed to be private on their Facebook pages.


When you have an I.P.O. you don’t want investors to be skeptical or jittery," said Ryan Calo, who leads privacy research at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. "In order for you to be as valuable as possible, you want to make sure the seas are calm. This calms the seas."