Federal Trade Commission Invites Public Comment On Twitter Settlement Until July 26th

Twitter_logoThe FTC wants you, the users, to comment on the settlement which would ban Twitter from misleading consumers about the extent to which it protects your privacy.

Earlier this year the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched a complaint against Twitter, Inc. for various violations of the FTC Act. These included the false and misleading nonuse of “reasonable and appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorized access to nonpublic user information” and deceptive acts in not using “reasonable and appropriate security measures to honor the privacy choices exercised by users.” The FTC charged that because of relaxed security practices, hackers were able to obtain administrative control of the site and nonpublic tweets were actually exposed to the public despite affirmations that they would not be.

Now there is a proposed order to which Twitter has consented that, if approved, will effectively settle the matter once and for all. The order contains provisions which were designed to prohibit Twitter from engaging in practices which got it in trouble with the FTC to begin with. For example, the site must not misrepresent the security of nonpublic information, and it must maintain a comprehensive information security program, among other things. “Twitter will be barred for 20 years from misleading consumers about the extent to which it maintains and protects the security, privacy, and confidentiality of nonpublic consumer information.”

In order for the proposed settlement order to become final, the FTC wants to hear comments from the public at large about their feelings towards the issue. This is where you the users come in. Do you think the settlement is fair? Does it make sense in proportion to the violations? There is an Analysis to Aid Public Comment that describes the allegations and the terms of the settlement in more detail which can be found here.

It is not very often that the public has an opportunity to speak directly to a government agency about a hot button issue such as social network privacy. So step up, SocialTimes readers, and give the FTC a piece of your mind. You have until July 26th to give your input.