Three countries have opened fresh rounds of investigations against Facebook for users’ privacy violations and security lapses. New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday announced a probe into Facebook harvesting email contacts for up to 1.5 million new users.
A Facebook spokesperson admitted last week that emails of 1.5 million people were harvested since May 2016 to help build Facebook’s web of social connections and recommend other users to add as friends. “It is time Facebook is held accountable for how it handles consumers’ personal information,” James said in a statement.
“Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumers’ information while at the same time profiting from mining that data.” Irish data protection watchdog on Thursday opened a probe into the breach of “hundreds of millions” of Facebook and Instagram user passwords that were stored in plain-text on its servers, TechCrunch repported
The Irish data protection authority will probe Facebook under the European GDPR data protection law, which could lead to hefty fines. In Canada, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner said it will take Facebook to federal court to force the social networking giant to correct its “serious contraventions” of the Canadian privacy law.
“Canadian authorities confirmed that the beleaguered social networking giant broke its strict privacy laws,” the report said, Battling several privacy violations, Facebook has kept aside $3 billion, anticipating a record fine coming from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that involved 87 million users.
“In the first quarter of 2019, we reasonably estimated a probable loss and recorded an accrual of $3 billion in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into our platform and user data practices,” the social networking giant wrote in its earnings statement. “We estimate that the range of loss in this matter is $3 billion to $5 billion,” added Facebook. The US FTC judgment on Facebook’s privacy violation is slated to come later this year.