Facebook nears privacy settlement with FTC.

FacebookSan Francisco: Facebook is nearing a settlement with federal regulators that would involve the world’s most popular online hangout to get approval from its users before making changes that expose their profiles and activities to a wider audience, according to the report.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook has agreed to make the changes to resolve a nearly 2-year-old investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. Both Facebook and the FTC declined to comment to The Associated Press.

If the settlement is approved by FTC’s commissioners, it would oblige Facebook to get explicit permission from its 800 million users before changing its privacy settings, according to the Journal.

Facebook sometimes makes changes that it believes will improve its social network and afterwards leaves it to users to reset the things that they don’t like, a process known as opting out. Companies introducing a feature or service usually prefer an “opt out” system as fewer people take the steps required to get out of the change.

The FTC opened its investigate into Facebook after the website made changes that automatically showed users’ names, pictures, hometowns and other personal information available for anyone on the Web to see. That offends people who had intentionally programmed their privacy settings to detain that information to a definite group of friends or family.

As part of its planned settlement, Facebook would also submit to government reviews of its privacy practices for 20 years, according to the Journal.

In an interview with Charlie Rose revealed prior this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he believes the website’s changes over the past year have specified users greater control over their privacy.

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