Facebook donates $10 million as part of privacy class-action settlement

Facebook has become the latest company to pay the price for not properly considering the privacy of users.

The social media giant has agreed to donate US$10 million to charity as part of a legal settlement reached in May.

The proposed class-action lawsuit was brought on by five users, who argued that Facebook had violated their right to privacy by publicising their ‘Likes’ on paid advertisements without permission.

However, Facebook may have got off lightly. A study conducted in January 2011 by Edison Research found that 51 per cent of Americans aged 12 and over – or around 160 million people – were now using Facebook.

Had the lawsuit included every one of those users, Mark Zuckerberg’s empire may have been facing billions of dollars in payments.

Companies who operate in the online environment have a responsibility to protect the privacy and secure information of clients.

But as new technology emerges and businesses find new ways to interact with customers, companies may find themselves left with unexpected vulnerabilities.

If you’re concerned about the privacy of your client information, then a due diligence assessment is an excellent way to review the security protocols of your business.

A security due diligence assessment is a third party evaluation of the threats and compliance gaps in your system, and provides you with a thorough list of recommendations aimed at ensuring complete user privacy.

Rumours emerge of Facebook smartphone project

The smartphone industry is set to become more competitive than ever, with reports emerging that social media giants Facebook are planning to enter the market.

Less than a month after its disappointing initial public offering – which saw a 16.5 per cent decline in stock prices over the first week of trading – the New York Times has released a report speculating that Mark Zuckerberg’s company is hiring former Apple engineers with hopes to design a Facebook smartphone.

Facebook is reportedly optimistic that the phone will be released next year, which will mean further competition for the popular Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy products.

With so many smartphones now available, more consumers are likely to begin experimenting with new forms of mobile payment technology.

Forward thinking businesses will need to examine the mobile payment options they offer, while at the same time making sure online retail services are secure and private.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a required certification for all retailers dealing with credit and debit card transactions and seeks to assure that consumer information is correctly managed.

The PCI Security Standards Council participated in a congressional subcommittee hearing on mobile payment acceptance security in March, where it announced plans to introduce new guidelines for mobile security requirements and encryption technology.

Reaction to the Facebook smartphone has been mixed, with some experts speculating that the company does not have the industry knowledge to correctly design a competitive product.

Others have indicated that the move may be a necessary step in the continued expansion of Zuckerberg’s empire.

Facebook is yet to confirm or deny the reports, instead directing reporters to a statement made last year to technology website AllThingsD, where it claimed to be “working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers.”