Privacy Groups Send Letter To FTC, Demand Facebook Investigation

Kate Patrick Contributor
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The Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission demanding they put an end to Facebook’s tracking habits, calling Facebook’s practices a hazard to consumers.

“We express deep alarm over the announcement … that Facebook is planning to collect the web browsing activities of Internet users for targeted advertising,” the letter said. (RELATED: FTC Sues Amazon Over In-App Spending)

The announcement to which the letter refers is a June blog post found on Facebook’s website: “Starting soon in the U.S., we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use.”

Facebook also tacked on a quick disclaimer: “This is a type of interest-based advertising, and many companies already do this.”

But the writers of the letter to the FTC — which include Executive Director of the Center for Digital Democracy Jeffrey Chester and Senior Legal Officer of the European Consumer Organization Kostas Rossoglou — think differently. Facebook shouldn’t be allowed to use consumers’ information to target them with ads.

“Contrary to its prior representations, upon which users may have relied, the company will now routinely monitor the web browsing activities of its users and exploit that information for advertising purposes,” the letter said. “The FTC should examine whether Facebook’s change in business practices violates the consent order between Facebook and the FTC.”

The letter accuses Facebook of breaking the rules. It’s tattling at its finest. Since the FTC has already sued Apple and Amazon over questionable tech habits, they just might go after Facebook next. (RELATED: Apple Points The Finger On In-App Spending)

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Kate Patrick