FTC Urged To Curb Tracking By Facebook

The Federal Trade Commission should require Facebook to immediately stop tracking users after they have logged out of the social networking service, Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) says in a letter to the agency.

Markey says that recent reports -- including revelations that President Trump's consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, harvested data from up to 87 million Facebook users -- suggest that the company violated a consent decree it signed in 2011.

In addition to asking the FTC to prohibit Facebook from tracking logged-out users, Markey also wants the FTC to order Facebook to suspend use of facial recognition technology.

The 2011 consent decree, which grew out of allegations that Facebook was sharing users' information without their consent, contains a number of conditions that are intended to protect people's privacy. Among others, the decree prohibits Facebook from misrepresenting its privacy practices, including the extent to which it has made users' information available to third parties. It also requires Facebook to submit to biennial privacy audits.

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"I am concerned that Facebook failed to comply with this consent decree," Markey writes. "I urge the FTC to use all necessary resources to investigate Facebook, demand that Facebook pay all monetary penalties it owed as a result of any transgressions of the 2011 order, and instruct Facebook to institute additional safeguards."

Earlier this week, Facebook said it would roll out a "clear history" tool, which will allow users to prevent Facebook from correlating data collected throughout the web with their accounts. The feature also will allow users to prevent that type of tracking data from being associated with their accounts in the future. But the tool won't stop Facebook from collecting data.

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