MySpace Settles On FTC Charges That It Shared Personal Information With Advertisers; Site To Be Monitored For Next 20 Years

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If in any case MySpace lasts for the next 20 years, you can count on one group watching them do it - The federal government.

The social networking site will be kept a close eye on by the third-party observer for the duration of 20 years.

The decision is part of a settlement related to an investigation of the company's advertising sales strategy, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The agreement prevents, among other things, MySpace from making future privacy misrepresentations and requires it to make significant changes to its policy.

As a part of the decision, MySpace will also have to turn over internal documents and other information about its privacy practices for the next five years.

The FTC first went after MySapce on allegations that the company was selling information about its users to advertising clients -- a move that violates the website's terms of use.

MySpace, which issues each user a unique Friend ID after asking for personal information including age, gender, full name and other information that's included in a user profile, violated those terms by providing advertisers with the Friend ID number of users looking at certain pages on the site.

According to the FTC, the violation could give advertisers access to users' personal information the ability to link each user to internet activity happening off MySpace.

While finding MySpace guilty, the FTC charged MySpace with violating U.S. federal privacy law.

The FTC also alleged that MySpace violated a U.S.-European Union treaty that allows companies to legally transmit data between the two international bodies.

MySpace is a nine-year-old company which began running in 2003. It was purchased by News Corp. for $580 million in July of 2005, and then sold to Specific Media and Justin Timberlake in 2011 for approximately $35 million.

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