Slapped with $5bn fine, FB to appoint chief privacy officer

San Francisco, July 24 (IANS) After reaching a $5 billion settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Facebook on Wednesday said it will set up a new privacy committee of its board that will oversee its privacy programme, besides appointing a Chief Privacy Officer for Products.

Facebook agreed to pay the historic penalty to settle FTC charges that the company had deceived users about their ability to control the privacy of their personal information.

“We’ve agreed to pay a historic fine, but even more important, we’re going to make some major structural changes to how we build products and run this company,” CEO of the social networking giant, Mark Zuckerberg, wrote in his Facebook page.

“We have a responsibility to protect people’s privacy. We already work hard to live up to this responsibility, but now we’re going to set a completely new standard for our industry.

“Our executives, including me, will have to certify that all of the work we oversee meets our privacy commitments,” Zuckerberg said.

Facebook has already asked one of its most experienced product leaders to take on the role of Chief Privacy Officer for Products, he informed.

The Facebook CEO, however, said that the new privacy commitment could slow the process of rolling out new products.

“The reason I support them is that I believe they will reduce the number of mistakes we make and help us deliver stronger privacy protections for everyone,” he said.

“As we build our privacy-focused vision for the future of social networking that I outlined earlier this year, it’s critical we get this right,” he added.

Addressing nearly 5,000 developers at its annual F8 conference in San Jose, California in April, Zuckerberg said gaining users’ trust was his top agenda.

“I know we don’t exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now. I am committed to doing this well,” he told the gathering.

In his keynote, Zuckerberg said Facebook was building a more “privacy-focused” social platform — giving people spaces where they can express themselves freely and feel connected to the people and communities that matter the most.

“This is a fundamental shift in how we build products and run our company,” the Facebook CEO added.

–IANS

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