Dems ask FTC to probe if other companies also obtained Facebook data

Dems ask FTC to probe if other companies also obtained Facebook data
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Senate Democrats are urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether any other companies have obtained Facebook users' data without their knowledge amid the controversy over Cambridge Analytica.

Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Officials want action on cyberattacks Senate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook This week: Democrats face mounting headaches MORE (D-Minn.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTwo 'View' hosts test positive for coronavirus ahead of Harris interview Rep. Karen Bass to run for mayor of Los Angeles: report Biden taps big bank skeptic to for top regulatory post MORE (D-Calif.) wrote to acting FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen on Friday, saying Cambridge Analytica’s reported acquisition of 50 million users’ data without their knowledge raises “serious questions” about Facebook’s compliance with a 2011 consent agreement with the agency. Under the agreement, Facebook vowed to improve its privacy practices.

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“Facebook has a legal responsibility to ensure user data is secure and that its policies are transparent—which includes upholding the privacy rights of its users and keeping its promises when it comes to notifying them if there has been a violation,” the senators wrote.

Multiple media outlets reported this week that the FTC was probing the Cambridge Analytica incident and whether it ran afoul of the settlement.

Klobuchar and Harris asked Ohlhausen if the investigation would also explore whether any other entities improperly obtained Facebook profile data.

Cambridge Analytica has denied any wrongdoing, and Facebook has promised to conduct its own investigation.

Facebook in 2011 agreed to a settlement with the FTC over claims that it deceived users about their privacy settings. Under the terms of the agreement, Facebook promised to refrain from “making misrepresentations about the privacy or security of consumers' personal information.”

“We urge the FTC to conduct a thorough investigation—which should include examining any and all potential violations of users’ privacy—to assess whether Facebook violated the decree or any other applicable laws,” the senators wrote.

The FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.