It looks like the Cambridge Analytica scandal is here to stay as federal investigators have expanded the investigation to include Facebook itself in their effort to examine the relationship between the social media giant and the data mining firm. According to a detailed report by The Washington Post, representatives from FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) have joined the DOJ (Department of Justice) to inquire in both the companies. The report pointed out that agencies want to investigate if representatives for Facebook lied to its investors, the public, and the lawmakers while informing them about the privacy scandal.
The report empathized that Facebook discovered about the scandal back in 2015 and did not inform about it until March just before the publication of news about the same. Investigators are also looking into the testimony that Mark Zuckerberg issued at Capitol Hill to see how accurate the statement was. The investigation also includes if the company made timely disclosures about the scandal to its users and investors who have invested in the Facebook stock. Before the expansion, the investigation was only focused on Cambridge Analytica and did not include Facebook and its actions.
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Facebook issued a statement adding, “We are cooperating with officials in the US, UK and beyond.” The company further went on to add, “We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged to continue our assistance as their work continues”, according to the report.
The involvement of multiple federal agencies makes the matter much more serious than previously anticipated. According to the report this “creates new risk” for the company which is trying to recover from a string of controversies. Since the scandal and public testimony, the company has announced a number of steps spread over months detailing more limits on the data that developers can access using the platform. The report points out that Facebook is also facing a separate FTC probe about a consent decree about privacy practices from 2011.