Sources revealed on Monday that the US federal government's investigation into Facebook and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica's sharing of user data has expanded to focus on the actions and announcements made by the tech giant.
It is reported that investigations have been initiated in addition to the US Department of Justice, which has been investigating the incident, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Trade Commission.
According to sources, investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Trade Commission have begun investigating Facebook and Cambridge analysts and their sharing of 71 million US users' personal information. This means that the US government's investigation of Facebook is expanding.
According to previous reports, a company called GSR mines Facebook user data with a personality test application called “thisisyourdigitallife” and provides the collected data to Cambridge Analytics.
During US President Trump's 2016 election, Cambridge Analytics provided detailed Trump's voter data to the Trump camp and targeted them to advertise on the Facebook platform.
Although Facebook had already discovered this as early as 2015, and Cambridge analysis had not yet cooperated with the Trump camp, Facebook did not disclose the collected user data until March, and Facebook disclosed the incident until March this year. After that, the truth was revealed to the public.
The company subsequently confirmed that the number of affected US users reached 87 million.
According to sources, the current US government agency's investigation of Facebook focuses on what the company had mastered three years ago, why not disclose the truth to investors or users, and why there are deviations in the number of affected users.
The news also said that the testimony of executives including Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the US Congress is also part of the current investigation.
Facebook confirmed on Monday that the company had received inquiries from federal agencies saying it was working with other agencies in other ways. “We are working with officials in the US, UK and other countries. We provided public testimony, answered questions, and promised to continue with their work, and we will continue to provide assistance,” said Facebook spokesperson Matt Steinfeld.
Since the scandal broke out, Cambridge Analytics has closed its business. The New York Times previously reported that the US Department of Justice has been investigating the company, but other US government investigations into the incident have never been disclosed before.
After the Cambridge analysis scandal was exposed, as one of the remedies, Facebook conducted an audit of third-party applications in May, and as a result, about 200 applications were suspended.
It is unclear what other US federal government investigations into Facebook include whether to consider criminal charges or impose fines.
It is reported that the focus of the current survey is what user data that Facebook allows third-party application developers to collect on the platform, and Facebook's presentation in public and congressional hearings after the event is exposed.
The US Federal Trade Commission's investigation of Facebook mainly involved whether the company violated the 2011 settlement agreement.
If it is found to be in violation of the agreement, the Federal Trade Commission will have the right to impose a multi-billion dollar fine on Facebook. (Compile / Ming Xuan)