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US FTC probing Facebook for violation of user data privacy: Bloomberg

If found guilty, FTC could fine Facebook thousands of dollars a day for the violation.

  • Published: March 20, 2018 7:54 PM IST

The United States Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook over its use of people’s personal data. The agency is investigating whether the social media platform violates data use without consent on the wake of revelation from Cambridge Analytica.

The US privacy watchdog is investigating whether Facebook violated terms of a 2011 consent decree of handling user data when handing over user data to Cambridge Analytica, reports Bloomberg. Under the 2011 settlement, Facebook agreed to get consent from user for certain changes to privacy setting as part of a settlement of federal charges that the social network giant deceived consumers and forced them to share more personal information than they intended.

The complaint came into effect in 2011 after Facebook changed some user settings without notifying its customers. Neither Facebook nor FTC commented on the investigation.

If found guilty, FTC could fine Facebook thousands of dollars a day for the violation. Facebook has been under fire since it announced suspension of Cambridge Analytica from its platform last week. The firm has been found to have mined on user information of over 50 million users on Facebook without proper consent from those users. Facebook said it is suspending the firm for violation of its privacy policy.

The chairman of a UK parliamentary committee announced Tuesday that he was requesting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear before the panel and offer testimony to the use of customer data on its platform. The US Senate Commerce Committee is also seeking a briefing on the use and sharing of individual Facebook user data.

Facebook has been under pressure since it revealed last year that its platform was used by Russian troll farm to spread misinformation ahead of the US Presidential Election. While the company has taken multiple steps since then to limit spread of fake news on its platform, the problems within the system seem to be far wide and its implications could be far reaching. The US Senators are already considering regulating the platform like other media services and the investigation by FTC could have a wide ranging effects.

  • Published Date: March 20, 2018 7:54 PM IST