Rockefeller encourages FTC to crack down on Facebook


He said that any action the FTC takes against Facebook should require Facebook to obtain its users' consent before changing any policies and should set up a "rigorous enforcement regime."

Leibowitz could not comment directly on Rockefeller's suggestions, but he said, "We hear you loud and clear."

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the FTC and Facebook are near a settlement over charges stemming from changes Facebook made to its privacy settings in 2009. The social network made parts of users' profiles public by default, including their picture, city and friend list. Users did not have to agree to the changes before they were implemented.

Rockefeller made the comments during a hearing to consider Leibowitz's nomination to serve a second term as chairman of the FTC.

Later in the hearing, Rockefeller said he watched Charlie Rose's interview of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

He said the Facebook executives acted like "the world is ours" and "we are the future" but that no "sense of restraint" or "collateral damage… was brought up."   

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said he could not comment on any possible settlement with the FTC, but he pointed to references in the transcript of the Charlie Rose interview in which Sandberg and Zuckerberg discussed their views of privacy. 

During the interview, Sandberg said privacy "has been very core to this service" and "we are the most privacy-focused place for anyone to share anything."

Zuckerberg emphasized the importance of enabling users to control their personal information.

"So what we’ve done in the last year is we’ve made it so that any time you to share anything, the privacy control is now right there, and it says exactly who you’re going to share with," he said in the interview.