Social Networking Site Settles With State Over Deceptive Practices

The State Attorney General's office has announced a settlement with a social networking site accused of using deceptive practices to get more people to sign up. David Pitman has the story.

The site "Tagged" may not be as well-known as Facebook or MySpace, but it claims to have 80 million members.  The site says about 2 million of them are here in Texas.

The Attorney General's office began investigating Tagged, after the site launched a promotion back in June to get more people to sign up. 

AG spokesperson Lauri Saathoff says Tagged sent messages to everyone on a member's e-mail address list, claiming the member had photos for everyone to see.

"But most of the time, the member had no photos to share.  And consumers clickin' on this e-mail were taken through Tagged's registration process themselves, which, inadvertently, gave Tagged access to the members' e-mail address books."

Saathoff says under the terms of the settlement with the AG's office, Tagged must clearly spell out its intentions to have access to a member's e-mail address list, and to give members a chance to say no.

"Tagged must also designate a compliance representative and adopt a formal retention policy, and allow users to set their accounts to a private setting to block unauthorized access to their information."

Tagged will also have to pay a total of $250,000 to cover both the civil penalties, and the cost of the state's investigation. 

Bio photo of David Pitman

David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...