Social network aggregator Spokeo, Inc., was slapped with an $800K civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission complaint that it marketed profiles on millions of consumers in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The profiles were pitched to employers, recruiters, human resource professionals as a way to “go beyond the resume.” The FTC said that Spokeo acted as a consumer reporting agency and failed to ensure that the consumer information was accurate and “used only for legally permissable purposes.”
In addition the FTC also alleged that Spokeo employees posted endorsements of the service on news and technology sites.
According to the FTC, Spokeo collects personal information about consumers from hundreds of online and offline data sources, including social networks. It merges the data to create detailed personal profiles of consumers. The profiles contain such information as name, address, age range, and email address. They also might include hobbies, ethnicity, religion, participation on social networking sites, and photos.
According to a statement, this is the first FTC case to address the sale of Internet and social media data in the employment screening context.
– CMN Staff Report