Facebook has reached a final settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the privacy policies of the company.
Under the agreed terms, Facebook would provide users with "clear and prominent notice" any time their information was shared, but prior to that Facebook would need to obtain "express consent" of its users before it shared any information that existed outside its privacy settings.
Additionally, FTC has forced Facebook to maintain a "comprehensive privacy program," and subject its service to biennial privacy audits.
following the first announcement of the settlement in November 2011, the FTC gave the public time to offer suggestions and comments.
The announcement of the final settlement yesterday marks an official end to the investigation, and Facebook would now be obligated to comply.
If it defaults, the company would be liable to civil penalties of up to $16,000 for each violation of the order.
The FTC started investigations into Facebook's privacy practices back in 2009 after reports from several watchdogs, charging the social network with exposing information users had previously set to private.
The social network had also claimed that third-party apps access to user information would be limited to what was necessary to operate, but the apps were able to access nearly all of the users' personal data, according to the FTC's filings.
Unlike the settlement with Google, the FTC did not hit Facebook with a fine, but made it clear that if it failed to adhere to its order action would follow.
Under the settlement, Facebook would be subject to privacy inspections by an independent watchdog for the next 20 years.