How Will Google's FTC Audits Impact Facebook?

The Federal Trade Commission settlement with Google allowing privacy audits just might end up benefiting the legions of Facebook developers who've had to stop using AdSense.

The Federal Trade Commission settlement with Google allowing privacy audits just might end up benefiting the legions of Facebook developers who’ve had to stop using AdSense.

The events leading up to the settlement had arisen from Google Buzz, but today’s consent order from the FTC doesn’t limit the mandatory privacy audits to the search company’s Twitter clone.

Google actually offers a formal apology about Buzz in a blog post today, but the company also indicates that its advertising practices are a-changin’. The entry doesn’t mention AdSense specifically, nor the Facebook rules that the search giant has yet to sign a compliance agreement about. But the following certainly sounds like it jibs with Facebook’s platform terms for advertising providers:

User trust really matters to Google. That’s why we try to be clear about what data we collect and how we use it – and to give people real control over the information they share with us. For example, Google Dashboard lets you view the data that’s stored in your Google Account and manage your privacy settings for different services. With our Ads Preferences Manager, you can see and edit the data Google uses to tailor ads on our partner websites – or opt out of them entirely. And the Data Liberation Front makes it easy to move your data in and out of Google products. We also recently improved our internal privacy and security procedures.

Facebook’s new rules for advertising providers responds to concerns from the FTC, so it seems logical that audits by this federal agency would push Google into compliance with the same standards that Facebook has embraced.

Once that happens, it’s just a matter of Google executives signing Facebook’s legal documents, and then developers would regain the opportunity to use AdSense and recoup up to 45 percent of advertising revenues that would have been lost.

Readers, do you see any benefits for Facebook developers resulting from Google complying with the FTC’s orders?