Facebook Under Probe by FTC Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal

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Facebook, Inc. has come under fire over how a data analytics consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, was able to improperly harvest personal data of 50 million users, which was used to help boost President Donald Trump’s campaign.

The Federal Trade Commission – the lead United States watchdog for ensuring that companies adhere to own privacy policies –  is now probing the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal. The agency is looking into whether the social media giant went against the terms of a consent decree that was put in place in 2011.

Cambridge Analytica

According to sources familiar with the matter the FTC believes that by leaving personal user data to be used by Cambridge Analytica without the permission or knowledge of users, Facebook may have violated its own privacy policies.

The data breach revelations have forced the social networking firm to rush to tone down fresh concerns by lawmakers and regulators. Amid the FTC probe, the attorney generals of New York and Massachusetts announced they had sent a letter to Facebook demanding details as to what transpired.

The social media company will also be confronting Congress’ immediate demand for briefings. Susan Collins, a Senate Republican and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee was quoted saying that she has grown more and more concerned as more data manipulation revelations keeps coming in.

The Senator said she believes that there are a lot of questions to be answered by Twitter, Facebook, as well as other social networking platforms in regards to the meddling of the 2016 election.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Democrat Senator Mark Warner wants to summon Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify. In its part, Facebook said it would arrange conversations with the attorney generals of various states that are after it, and send its representatives to appear before Congress for questioning on how the Trump-affiliated firm harvested personal information of FB users.

Commissioner Terrell McSweeny of the Federal Trade Commission said the regulator was concerned by the allegations that personal data of 50 million Facebook users was used without their knowledge and permission.

The Commissioner added that the revelations also underline the limited rights consumers have to their personal data. “Americans need robust protections in the current digital era such as control over and rights to their data, comprehensive privacy and data security laws, as well as accountability and transparency for data brokers.

The UK and EU regulators are also calling out on Facebook for the latest data breach. On Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg was formally asked to appear before a UK parliamentary committee over the issue.

However, it remains to be seen whether the CEO will present himself before the committee, considering that he has not yet spoken since the New York Times revealed the scandal.

Sources

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/03/20/ftc-opens-investigation-into-facebook-after-cambridge-analytica-scrapes-millions-of-users-personal-information/?utm_term=.56e37a58ed8f

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/business/ftc-facebook-privacy-investigation.html

 

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