With calls growing for the FTC to look into Facebook’s privacy practices, the social network has now enlisted a former FTC chairman to make its case. The FT reports that Facebook has hired Tim Muris, who led the FTC under President Bush from 2001 to 2004 and is best known for overseeing the creation of the national “Do Not Call Registry.” Facebook won’t comment, although it says Muris has not “joined” the company, meaning that in all likelihood he is serving as a consultant or outside attorney.
Muris’ hiring is noteworthy, because in the wake of the company’s latest privacy uproar, several privacy groups and senators have called for the FTC specifically to intervene. Late last month, Charles Schumer of New York asked the FTC to establish guidelines for social networking sites “on how private information submitted by online users can be used and disseminated,” saying that currently there is “little guidance on what social networking sites can and cannot do and what disclosures are necessary for consumers.” Already, several privacy groups had filed a formal complaint with the FTC over a round of privacy changes Facebook had implemented in December. They followed that up with a second complaint just last week.
At Facebook, Muris would be the latest high profile attorney to represent the company. Facebook hired Timothy Sparapani, a former “privacy specialist” at the American Civil Liberties Union, as its director of public policy a year ago.