Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), for being the world’s biggest social-networking site with one of the world’s largest col.ections of personal data, has been having to walk a line between communication and sharing among nearly a billion users, with an individual expectation of privacy. And in one of the bigger understatements one might find, Facebook Inc. (FB) seems to have fallen on the wrong side of that line a few times. Whether this is part of the problem Facebook has with its stock price, there are investors like billionaire fund manager George Soros of Soros Fund Management would likely not want to see continue too much further into the future.
While there is no definite conclusion that this is happening again, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is at least being charged with violating some privacy here in the U.S. (as opposed to Europe, where it seems many of the company’s privacy issues have manifested), as a pair of consumer-privacy groups Thursday filed a letter with the Federal Trade Commission, alleging that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is violating terms of a settlement it reached in August by having its working relationship with Datalogix, a data-mining company.
The two groups – the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) – signed the letter to all five commissioners, stating that Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) possibly broke parts of its agreement with the FTC by not telling users that the company would share user information with Datalogix. The letter stemmed from a report in the Financial Times that stated details of the Facebook (FB) partnership with Datalogix, which was meant to track the effectiveness of ads on the Facebook inc. (NASDAQ:FB) site among Facebook users.
Datalogix was to help Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) track users who see ads on Facebook and wind up buying the products advertised. Datalogix was going to match up e-mail addresses and other key personal data from shopper loyalty cards and programs at more than 1,000 retailers with account data from Facebook Inc. (FB) users to measure the effectiveness of the ads.
“In spite of the consent order, Facebook is allowing Datalogix, a consumer-analytics firm, to match the personal information of Facebook users with personal information held by Datalogix to track Facebook users’ offline commercial activity,” the letter to the FTC said.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) maintains it is compliant “with our legal obligations.”