Facebook, Google, LinkedIn want FTC privacy safeguards

Advertising trade groups, including the Interactive Advertising Bureau sent a letter this month to the Senate Commerce Committee warning that the FTC could become too powerful.

Facebook's lobbyist Tim Sparapani said the FTC should be responsible for policing third-party application developers who do not follow treat personal data appropriately.

Facebook, which has 500,000 third-party applications on its site, is often blamed when an outside application gets attention for misusing information or for lacking social tact. In September, for example, there was significant outcry when a poll appeared on the site asking users, "Should Obama Be Killed?"

"The FTC should absolutely be involved," Sparapani said.

Google's deputy general counsel Nicole Wong agreed, saying the FTC should try to "go find the competitors that are not playing fair."

Erika Rottenberg, general counsel of LinkedIn, said "certainly the FTC needs to be involved" without being heavy-handed.

"Certainly there are bad actors, and there's a collective responsibility to shine a light on that," she said. "But a regulation that is one-size-fits-all will fail."