US Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook’s privacy practices following a week of scandals and public outrage over the company’s failure to protect the personal information of tens of millions of users.
“The FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook,” said Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection in a statement on Monday noting that the investigation would include whether the company engaged in “unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers”.
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said he believed Facebook was in violation of the 2011 settlement in letting Cambridge Analytica harvest data on friends of Facebook users.
“This is what Facebook was doing 10 years ago that people objected to, what the FTC should have stopped in 2011,” Rotenberg said. “It makes zero sense that when a person downloads their apps, they have the ability to transfer the data of their friends.”
Facebook’s stock, which already took a big hit last week, slid as a result falling by as much as 6% at one point.
“We remain strongly committed to protecting people’s information,” Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, Rob Sherman, said in a statement. “We appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have.”