FTC Announces Facebook Investigation Citing ‘Substantial Concerns’ About Privacy Practices

In this Wednesday, June 21, 2017, photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks in preparation for the Facebook Communities Summit, in Chicago, in advance of an announcement of a new Facebook initiative designed to spur people to form more meaningful communities with Facebook's groups feature. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The FTC has announced that they have opened a federal investigation into Facebook following the company’s latest user data scandal, citing “substantial concerns” about Facebook’s treatment of users’ private data.

Axios reports that Facebook is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission following the recent user data scandal related to data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica. The FTC has now stated that they are investigating the social media companies internal user privacy practices. Tom Pahl, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, released a statement on their investigation saying:

The FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers. Foremost among these tools is enforcement action against companies that fail to honor their privacy promises, including to comply with Privacy Shield, or that engage in unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers in violation of the FTC Act. Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements. Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.

Facebook’s consumer ranking has taken a huge hit since the data scandal. A poll from Reuters shows that the public is rapidly losing faith in Facebook following allegations that data firm Cambridge Analytica used the social media platform to gain access to the personal data of 50 million users. According to the Reuters poll, only 41 percent of consumers trust Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws. In comparison, 47 percent of consumers say they would trust Yahoo! to obey the same laws despite the site suffering their own massive data breaches in 2016, while 60 percent trust Microsoft, 62 percent trust Google, and Amazon ranked as the most trusted with 66 percent.

Facebook also took out full-page ads in multiple newspapers issuing an apology for the data breach. The ads featured an apology written by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who attempted to explain the Cambridge Analytica situation and reiterate that the company has already prevented third-party apps from “getting so much information,” also adding that the company has begun “limiting the data apps get when you sign up.”

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