Facebook has been cited by the Federal Trade Commission for its fast and loose policies on privacy settings in the past where it actually urged users to share everything with everyone—pretty much the polar opposite of what most people would want to do. Now Facebook is close to a settlement with the FTC that will require the social network to make all future privacy changes user choice, commonly known as “opt in.”
If this comes to fruition, this will end our numerous, nearly weekly, blog posts reminding you (and your children) to check your privacy setting. While it is still awaiting final approval from the FTC, the agreement prohibits Facebook from making information that's already on the site available to a wider audience than previously intended, without the user's express consent. The settlement won't dictate how Facebook obtains user consent for new features, but it will require Facebook to undergo independent privacy audits for the next 20 years.