Myspace Settles with FTC Over User Privacy


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Myspace, the dominant social network before Facebook took over, has just settled with the Federal Trade Commission over user privacy issues, much like Facebook had in November. The FTC contended that Myspace was too vague in its explanation of user privacy, and the network is now prohibited from further instances of this sort of misrepresentation. Myspace also has submitted to 20 years worth of privacy policy checkups in the deal.

Interestingly, Myspace is still a relevant social platform, and was reported to be garnering roughly 40K new users per day as of February, and was still beating out Linkedin and Google+ in regards to unique monthly users. The site saw a boost upon the launch of its new music player, in a bid to become a sort of Hulu for audio, and said player can also be linked to Facebook. Though, the Myspace player doesn't seem to track song plays accurately, the interface is addled with rampant Flash ads that tend to bring the site to a crawl, and the whole thing at times resembles an overlapping trash heap of content designed by a toddler. But, it still pulls in over 17 million unique users a month.

The FTC had claimed that Myspace was sharing user information without being completely up front about its rules in this regard. Basically, the network "provided advertisers with the Friend ID of users who were viewing particular pages on the site - and [advertisers] could use the Friend ID to locate a user's Myspace profile to obtain personal information publicly available on the profile and, in most instances, the user's full name," according to the FTC. This sort of deception is a violation of federal law. Myspace also allegedly failed to afford its users with an easy Safe Harbor opt-out regarding transfer of data between the U.S. and Europe.

Myspace wasn't forced to pay any fines, though any new violations could result in a $16K slap on the wrist per each offense. I wonder what Tom thinks of all of this.