Facebook was back in the privacy spotlight after a recent Wall Street Journal investigation found that many of the most popular Facebook applications were sharing user profiles with other advertisers and data firms (as was MySpace but to a more limited degree), while another study found that advertisers were able to identify a user’s sexual orientation based on their response to certain advertisements. This prompted the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, Ed Markey (D-MA) and Joe Barton (R-TX) to promptly send a detailed list of questions to Facebook’s 26-year old CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The discovery has also led to class action lawsuit against Zynga, developer of the popular FarmVille.
While some have argued that the Facebook event raises questions about behavioral targeting, new FTC Commissioner Brill indicated that the FTC “isn’t calling for regulation right now” but instead wanted to evaluate recently adopted self-regulatory initiatives. She added, however, the the soon to be released report on the FTC’s privacy roundtables earlier this year may raise the issue of a do-not-track registry which Brill supports.