Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg 'committed' to protecting users' civil rights

20 December, 2018, 14:31 | Author: Leah Owens
  • Facebook Has Another Data Privacy Problem This Time Involving Amazon Netflix And More

The Washington Post reports that this is "the first major effort" by U.S. regulators to punish Facebook over its involvement with the British political consulting firm, which was allowed to gain access to personal data of millions of the social network's users without their permission.

According to the New York Times, Facebook allowed Microsoft's Bing search engine to see the names of nearly all Facebook users' friends without consent and gave Netflix and Spotify access to Facebook users' private messages.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine filed the lawsuit on Wednesday, said the Washington Post.

In a statement published on its website today, Facebook said its partnerships or features did not give companies access to information without people's permission.

The social network has admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by Cambridge Analytica, which shut down weeks after the news emerged on its handling of private user information.

In the lawsuit, Racine points out that just 852 Facebook users in DC used Aleksandr Kogan's "thisisyourdigitallife" personality quiz, but, due to the permissive data sharing that was in place at the time, hundreds of thousands of people were affected. Previously, Facebook declined to make its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, available to testify in front of lawmakers from the United Kingdom and eight other countries that remain concerned about the Cambridge Analytica controversy.

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The records further revealed that facebook permitted Amazon to obtain users' names and contact information through their friends. The groups also called for Facebook to fire Joel Kaplan, Facebook's VP of global public policy, who has drawn scrutiny over his links to conservative figures, including Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. But Facebook also assumed extraordinary power over the personal information of its 2.2 billion users - control it has wielded with little transparency or outside oversight.

At the same time, the Federal Trade Commission took the unusual step of announcing an investigation into whether Facebook had violated a 2011 consent decree, exposing the company to a multi-billion dollar fine.

"We know we've got work to do to regain people's trust", Mr Satterfield said, while acknowledging missteps of the company over the past year.

The lawsuit comes after an independent investigation conducted by the attorney general's office's which pinpointed, for the first time, the number of D.C. residents caught up in the data mining scandal that has embroiled Facebook for much of the past year.

According to NBC News, Internet Research Agency - a Russian firm - created millions of posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube meant to galvanize supporters of then-candidate Donald Trump and suppress the votes of African-Americans.

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