Facebook pressed on whether EU data was harvested by Cambridge Analytica

Facebook pressed on whether EU data was harvested by Cambridge Analytica
© Getty

European Union officials have asked Facebook whether any of the data collected by Cambridge Analytica belonged to European citizens, according to a letter obtained by The Hill.

European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova wrote to Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg on Monday, wondering whether data on EU citizens has been “affected by the recent scandal.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“If this is the case, how do you intend to inform the authorities and users about it?” Jourova wrote.

Facebook has weathered mounting scrutiny since it was revealed more than a week ago that Cambridge Analytica harvested data on 50 million U.S. voters via a survey app, improperly using it to boost political campaigns. Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica, alleging that the data firm violated the platform’s policies by not deleting the data in 2015.

Cambridge Analytica, which went on to work for Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall MORE’s 2016 presidential campaign, has defended itself amid allegations it misused data. 

On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in a rare public announcement that it is investigating Facebook’s privacy practices. 

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergPrivacy groups accuse Facebook of deceiving children into spending parents' money Pinterest blocks all vaccine-related searches in effort to combat anti-vax content Hillicon Valley: Kremlin seeks more control over Russian internet | Huawei CEO denies links to Chinese government | Facebook accused of exposing health data | Harris calls for paper ballots | Twitter updates ad rules ahead of EU election MORE has apologized for the controversy in multiple media appearances, and is reportedly planning to testify before Congress next month. 

Jourova wrote Monday that that public statements from Zuckerberg and others have “not alleviated” her concerns over the controversy. 

“This is particularly disappointing given our efforts to build a relationship based on trust with you and your colleagues,” she wrote. “This trust is now diminished.”

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson told The Hill that the social networking company received the letter and will respond.

“We remain strongly committed to protecting people’s information," the spokesperson said. "We have received a letter from Commissioner Jourová and we appreciate the opportunity to explain what we know and will respond to the questions that the Commissioner has asked. As Mark Zuckerberg said this week, we are working hard to tackle past abuse, prevent future abuse and give people more prominent controls."

Updated 6:30 p.m.