Senate Commerce presses Facebook, Cambridge Analytica for answers on data

Senate Commerce presses Facebook, Cambridge Analytica for answers on data
© Greg Nash

The Senate Commerce Committee is pushing Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to answer questions about their dealings with one another, following controversy over data the firm allegedly took from 50 million Facebook accounts.

“We appreciate that Facebook has recently taken steps to address this situation. Nevertheless, the possibility that Facebook has either not been transparent with consumers or has not been able to verify that third-party app developers are transparent with consumers is troubling,” Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE The real reason Scott Pruitt is gone: Putting a key voting bloc at risk Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers eye ban on Chinese surveillance cameras | DOJ walks back link between fraud case, OPM breach | GOP senators question Google on Gmail data | FCC under pressure to delay Sinclair merger review MORE (R-S.D.), wrote in a joint letter with Sens. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerGOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers eye ban on Chinese surveillance cameras | DOJ walks back link between fraud case, OPM breach | GOP senators question Google on Gmail data | FCC under pressure to delay Sinclair merger review Top Senate Republicans question Google over Gmail data practices MORE (R-Miss.) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranHillicon Valley: Lawmakers eye ban on Chinese surveillance cameras | DOJ walks back link between fraud case, OPM breach | GOP senators question Google on Gmail data | FCC under pressure to delay Sinclair merger review Top Senate Republicans question Google over Gmail data practices GOP senators visited Moscow on July 4, warned Russia against meddling in 2018 election: report MORE (R-Kan.), who chair Commerce subcommittees.

The letter comes after Facebook announced it would suspend Cambridge Analytica from its platform.

ADVERTISEMENT
The three pressed Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergViolence in Myanmar poses major test for Facebook US, EU must work together in wake of Facebook data breach Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers press Apple, Google on data collection | 21M affected by Timehop breach | Zuckerberg passes Buffett on rich list | Latest on Twitter's bot crackdown MORE to provide more answers on the types of information that Cambridge Analytica was able to acquire from it, if the company is aware of other similar abuses of its platform and if it will notify any of the 50 million users whose data was taken by the British firm.

The lawmakers asked if it agreed with Facebook’s characterization of its actions in a separate letter to Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) — the British parent company of Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica has challenged Facebook’s assertion on the data. In a statement, it said that it had not "knowingly breached any of Facebook's terms of service and also provided a signed statement to confirm that all Facebook data and their derivatives had been deleted."  

The lawmakers also questioned if SCL has shared the Facebook data it obtained with other companies.

Observers have questioned what Cambridge Analytica did with the data, specifically focusing on if it was distributed to either the Trump campaign or Russia. The firm has denied giving the Facebook data to both entities.

Commerce leadership are latest lawmakers to weigh in on the issue. A bevy of legislators, including Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Mueller indicts Russians for DNC hack | US officially lifts ZTE ban | AT&T CEO downplays merger challenge | Microsoft asks for rules on facial recognition technology | Dems want probe into smart TVs Dems push FTC to investigate smart TVs over privacy concerns Hillicon Valley: Hacker tried to sell military docs on dark web | Facebook fined over Cambridge Analytica | US closer to lifting ZTE ban | Trump, Obama lose followers in Twitter purge | DOJ weighs appeal on AT&T merger MORE (D-Mass.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBooker seizes on Kavanaugh confirmation fight Democrats build abortion case against Kavanaugh  The animating forces behind the Democratic Party are true, radical leftists MORE (D-Minn.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.), have also pressed the companies on the matter.