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Social Media Giant Facebook Under Lens for ‘Covering up’ Data Scandal

In the UK, the company was fined 500,000 pounds - the maximum fine the British data regulator can impose - over the Cambridge Analytica scandal

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

Federal prosecutors in the US are now probing whether top executives of Facebook, mired in data breaches, were aware of data harvesting by the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

According to a report in The Guardian on Sunday, federal prosecutors’ investigation claims that the social media giant has “covered up” the extent of its relationship with Cambridge Analytica.

“The Observer has also learned of claims that a meeting was hosted at the office of Facebook board member and confidant of its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, in the summer of 2016 just as the data firm started working for the Trump campaign,” said the report.

Facebook has been denying for long that it was aware of data harvesting of nearly 87 million users by the British political consultancy firm, who were targeted with political bias via Facebook posts in the 2016 US Presidential election.

A Facebook spokesperson told The New York Times: “We are co-operating with investigators and take these probes seriously.”

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FILE – The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

In December 2018, Washington DC’s top prosecutor sued Facebook in a first significant move to punish the firm for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine filed the lawsuit that accused Facebook of allowing wholesale scraping of personal data on tens of millions of users.

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Facebook is also being probed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice.

In the UK, the company was fined 500,000 pounds – the maximum fine the British data regulator can impose – over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. (IANS)

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US Judge Orders Facebook to Disclose Malicious Apps’ Data: Report

The social networking giant found that the apps -- primarily social media management and video streaming apps -- retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API (application programming interface)

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

As part of a probe ordered in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal involving 87 million users, a US judge has ordered Facebook to hand over data of thousands of apps that violated its user privacy.

Facebook admitted last year that it suspended “tens of thousands” of apps for possible privacy violations.

A Massachusetts judge rejected the social networking giant’s attempts to withhold the key details from state investigators, The Washington Post said in a report on Friday.

“We are disappointed that the Massachusetts Attorney General and the Court didn’t fully consider our arguments on well-established law. We are reviewing our options, including appeal,” a Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone was quoted as saying in the report.

Maura Healey, the Democratic Attorney General of Massachusetts, said: “We are pleased that the Court ordered Facebook to tell our office which other app developers may have engaged in conduct like Cambridge Analytica.”

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FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

The state of Massachusetts launched the probe last September after Facebook admitted that it had suspended “tens of thousands” of apps on its platform as a result of its review on privacy practices launched following the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.

The review, launched in 2018, followed revelations that the political consultancy hijacked personal data on millions of Facebook users and included attorneys, external investigators, data scientists, engineers, policy specialists and others, according to a Facebook statement.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal resulted in a record-breaking, $5 billion fine for Facebook from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Also Read: I Fall in Love with India Every Time I Return Here: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

In November 2019, Facebook revealed that at least 100 app developers may have accessed Facebook users’ data for months, confirming that at least 11 partners “accessed group members’ information in the last 60 days”.

The social networking giant found that the apps — primarily social media management and video streaming apps — retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API (application programming interface). (IANS)