Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is in trouble for its privacy practices again, this time from the federal government again. According to regulators, the social network should have asked them about changes to the practices first before actually making them.


Do Facebook’s new policies violate earlier agreement?

The Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday that it will begin an investigation into the social network’s new privacy practices. Vidu Goel and Edward Wyatt of The New York Times report that the agency will be deciding whether those new practices violate the agreement Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) made with regulators in 2011.

The agreement requires the company to get the consent of users before it exposes their private information to new groups or audiences. Earlier this month a group of privacy organizations sent a letter to the FTC claiming that the new practices violate that 2011 agreement. On Wednesday Sen. Edward J. Markey (D, Mass.) sent another letter to the FTC raising questions about the changes in practices and calling for an investigation.

Facebook didn’t seek regulatory approval

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s new policies state that users have to grant broad permission before the social network can use their personal information in advertising. But the FTC says the social network is subject to continual oversight by it because of the agreement they have. A spokesperson for the agency said Facebook never discussed the changes before announcing them.

Instead of asking whether the changes were within the realm of their agreement, the social network told the agency about the changes right before posting them on its website. According to Facebook, the new language does comply with the 2011 order from the FTC and also an order handed down earlier this year in connection with the settlement of a class action lawsuit. That suit dealt with the company’s use of users’ information in its Sponsored Stories ad campaign.

Facebook claims that even though it is changing the wording of its privacy practices, the policies don’t change its users’ rights over their personal data.