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Facebook Draws Scrutiny From FTC, Congressional Committees

Author: David McLaughlin, Ben Brody, Billy House, Bloomberg, Published on: 20 March 2018

Facebook Inc. is drawing scrutiny from the main U.S. privacy watchdog and half a dozen powerful congressional committees over how the personal data of 50 million users was obtained by a data analytics firm that helped elect President Donald Trump. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is probing whether Facebook violated terms of a 2011 consent decree over its handing of personal user data that was transferred to Cambridge Analytica without users’ knowledge, according to a person familiar with the matter. The FTC will be sending a letter to the company, another person said. Facebook slumped on the news, extending Monday’s decline. Facebook said it would conduct staff-level briefings of six committees Tuesday and Wednesday. That includes House and Senate Judiciary Committees, as well as the commerce and intelligence committees of both chambers. The FTC is the lead U.S. agency for enforcing companies’ adherence to their own privacy policies and could fine the company into the millions of dollars if it finds Facebook violated a 2011 consent decree. In an earlier statement Cambridge Analytica said it “strongly” denied “false allegations” in the media and said that the Facebook data at the center of the scandal wasn’t used as part of services provided to the Trump campaign....Facebook previously said in a statement it rejects "any suggestion of violation of the consent decree."We respected the privacy settings that people had in place," Rob Sherman, Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, said in an emailed statement. "Privacy and data protections are fundamental to every decision we make.

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