NEW YORK — The Federal Trade Commission voted Friday to finalize its settlement with Facebook, resolving charges that the social network exposed details about users’ lives without getting the required legal consent.
Facebook Inc. agreed to submit to government audits of its privacy practices every other year for the next two decades. The company also committed to getting explicit approval from users before changing the types of content it makes public.
The FTC approved the settlement Friday after a public comment period. It came a day after the FTC fined Google $22.5 million to resolve allegations that Google did not comply with the earlier settlement.
Much of the FTC’s complaint against Facebook centers on a series of changes the company made to its privacy controls in late 2009. The revisions automatically shared information and pictures about Facebook users, even if they previously programmed their privacy settings to shield the content.
The complaint also charges that Facebook shared its users’ personal information with third-party advertisers from September 2008 through May 2010, despite several public assurances from company officials that it was not passing the data along for marketing purposes.
Under the settlement, Facebook must get explicit consent before making changes that override existing privacy preferences. The company also may not make misrepresentations about the privacy or security of users’ personal information, a broad clause that led to Google’s fine Thursday.
Violations will be subject to civil penalties of up to $16,000 per day for each infringement.
The FTC approved the settlement 3 to 1, with one commissioner not participating.