The issue that has the FTC investigating Facebook is whether the company honored the terms of its 2012 consent decree on honoring the privacy rights of the site’s users. The FTC has requested, and Facebook has provided, thousands of e-mails in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others at the company discuss obtaining data and discussing whether proposed actions would be in compliance with the terms of the decree.
The Wall Street Journal has had several stories, based on interviews with those who have seen the e-mails, that the attitude of Facebook may not have been one of, shall we say, strict compliance with the regulatory parameters?
No matter what the PR and communications folks spin, write, and pledge, the truth about any company’s activities always emerges. In this tech era of e-mails, text messages, Chap Snat, or whatever, what we were really thinking at the time, what we were really planning, what we were really doing, and how we viewed regulators and their requirements somehow always seems available, and, too often, contradictory.
We shall see with Facebook, but the company’s push to settle seems to support the notion that perhaps the public statements of devotion to user privacy may not match Facebook’s actions.