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Three Fresh Probes Over Privacy Violation hit Facebook

The US FTC judgment on Facebook’s privacy violation is slated to come later this year

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Facebook, data,photos
A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Three countries have opened fresh rounds of investigations against Facebook for users’ privacy violations and security lapses.

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday announced a probe into Facebook harvesting email contacts for up to 1.5 million new users.

A Facebook spokesperson admitted last week that emails of 1.5 million people were harvested since May 2016 to help build Facebook’s web of social connections and recommend other users to add as friends.

“It is time Facebook is held accountable for how it handles consumers’ personal information,” James said in a statement.

“Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumers’ information while at the same time profiting from mining that data.”

Irish data protection watchdog on Thursday opened a probe into the breach of “hundreds of millions” of Facebook and Instagram user passwords that were stored in plain-text on its servers, TechCrunch repported

The Irish data protection authority will probe Facebook under the European GDPR data protection law, which could lead to hefty fines.

facebook
FILE – A 3D printed Facebook logo is seen in front of a displayed Russian flag in this photo illustration, Aug. 3, 2018. VOA

In Canada, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner said it will take Facebook to federal court to force the social networking giant to correct its “serious contraventions” of the Canadian privacy law.

“Canadian authorities confirmed that the beleaguered social networking giant broke its strict privacy laws,” the report said,

Battling several privacy violations, Facebook has kept aside $3 billion, anticipating a record fine coming from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that involved 87 million users.

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“In the first quarter of 2019, we reasonably estimated a probable loss and recorded an accrual of $3 billion in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into our platform and user data practices,” the social networking giant wrote in its earnings statement.

“We estimate that the range of loss in this matter is $3 billion to $5 billion,” added Facebook.

The US FTC judgment on Facebook’s privacy violation is slated to come later this year. (IANS)

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Social Networking Giant Facebook Suspends Several Apps Post-Cambridge Analytica Probe

Facebook has also removed a number of application programming interfaces (APIs), the channels that developers use to access various types of data

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Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Facebook has suspended thousands of apps associated with nearly 400 developers for a variety of reasons, as it continues to investigate suspicious apps after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

The social networking giant said that it is not yet confirmed these apps were posing a threat to people.

“Many were not live but were still in their testing phase when we suspended them. It is not unusual for developers to have multiple test apps that never get rolled out.

“In many cases, the developers did not respond to our request for information so we suspended them, honouring our commitment to take action,” Facebook said in a blog post on Friday.

Facebook began its “App Developer Investigation” in March 2018 as part of its response to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

The company aimed to review all of the apps that had access to large amounts of information before it changed its platform policies in 2014.

“Our App Developer Investigation is by no means finished. But there is meaningful progress to report so far. To date, this investigation has addressed millions of apps,” Facebook said.

Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple’s App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

In a few cases, Facebook has banned some apps completely.

“That can happen for any number of reasons including inappropriately sharing data obtained from us, making data publicly available without protecting people’s identity or something else that was in clear violation of our policies,” the company said.

In May, Facebook filed a lawsuit in California against Rankwave, a South Korean data analytics company that failed to cooperate with its investigation.

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“We’ve also taken legal action against developers in other contexts. For example, we filed an action against LionMobi and JediMobi, two companies that used their apps to infect users’ phones with malware in a profit-generating scheme,” it added.

Facebook has also removed a number of application programming interfaces (APIs), the channels that developers use to access various types of data.

“We have clarified that we can suspend or revoke a developer’s access to any API that it has not used in the past 90 days. And we will not allow apps on Facebook that request a disproportionate amount of information from users relative to the value they provide,” the company said. (IANS)