Annotation of FTC Complaint v. Facebook 2011 | Christian Nossokoff | April 20, 2016

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Annotation of FTC Complaint v. Facebook 2011

Annotation by Christian Nossokoff

The FTC filed this complaint on the grounds that the Respondent, Facebook, was in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act, specifically regarding commerce.

 

Commerce is defined in Section 4 of the FTC Act:

“'Commerce' means commerce among the several States or with foreign nations, or in any Territory of the United States or in the District of Columbia, or between any such Territory and another, or between any such Territory and any State or foreign nation, or between the District of Columbia and any State or Territory or foreign nation.”

 

The required information to register with Facebook includes: name, gender, email address, and date of birth.

Optional information that can be included at the time of registration includes: profile picture, hometown, sexual orientation, relationship status with romantic partners and family members who are also users of the site (boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, husband, wife, brother, sister, mother, father, etc...) political views, religious beliefs, likes and interests (activities, movies, books, music etc...)  and education and employment.

Information on user activity on the site over time includes: friends list of other Facebook users, “liked” pages of brands, organizations, interests groups, celebrities or any other entity, pictures and videos that both the user has uploaded and that other users have uploaded and “tagged” them in, and posts and comments made by the user on other users’ profiles and content.

 All of this profile information is stored by Facebook controlled computer network.

 Differing Platform Applications are available for use through Facebook. Users can approve Applications themselves, allowing the Application access to their profile information. But even if a user has not authorized an Application, the Application may still have access to some profile information because a user’s friend has authorized said Application.

 

Citation:

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION v. FACEBOOK INC., Complaint, Ftc.gov. Federal Trade Commission. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.

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April 20, 2016

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Christian Nossokoff

Student at American University

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