As of Monday, the FTC has charged the website Jerk.com with taking data from Facebook and using it to create millions of disparaging profiles that it would then charge $30 to remove or edit. The trick was that paying money didn’t actually give access to anything, and Jerk appears to have been scamming its “customers.”
The victims included children and descriptions appeared in search results. This harmed the reputation of users since people could vote and comment on how much of a jerk that person was.
Jerk.com said in a statement that the issue was caused by Facebook’s privacy policies. “We were equally horrified to discover that Facebook is placing personal information from its users including name and photographs in the public domain without requiring any agreement to its terms of service where anyone can acquire it,” said Jerk.com in a statement.
Facebook said that it applauds the FTC’s actions and will continue to work with the government to pursue Jerk.com and others that are seeking to abuse people who use the social network. An evidentiary hearing is expected to happen in front of an administrative law judge at the FTC on Jan. 27, 2015.