US Trade Commission launches probe into Facebook

RSTV Bureau

ZuckerbergIn a further setback to Facebook, the US Federal Trade Commission has confirmed that the social network major is under investigation into its privacy practices. The move comes after shocking allegations of the misuse of personal data of some 50 million users after Facebook’s connection with British company Cambridge Analytica.

The FTC, in a statement yesterday, confirmed that it has an “open non-public investigation” into Facebook’s privacy practices.

“FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook,” said Tom Pahl, FTC’s Acting Director in the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Pahl said the FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers.

“Foremost among these tools is enforcement action against companies that fail to honour their privacy promises, including to comply with Privacy Shield, or that engage in unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers in violation of the FTC Act,” the statement said.

“Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements,” it said.

In a related development, attorney generals of as many as 37 states has sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling for answers to reports that millions of Facebook users personal data was provided to third parties without their knowledge or informed consent.

In the letter, the attorney generals demand to know about Facebook’s role in the manipulation of users data by Cambridge Analytica without those users’ knowledge as well as Facebook’s policies and procedures for protecting users private data.

The letter requests that Facebook produce information regarding their business practices and safeguards to protect users’ privacy.

(With inputs from Agencies)