Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, or one of his designees, has been invited to testify before Congress on the issue of customers’ personal data, and there’s word that Parliament in the United Kingdom would like to have some questions answered.
The Federal Trade Commission Monday announced its own investigation into the company’s data privacy practices, and a number of privacy groups have sued.
Stock prices plunged and prices are down more than 15 percent from just a few weeks ago.
Now attorneys general for at least 37 states say they will come up with their own results, from their own newly announced investigation.
Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro said, “Businesses like Facebook must comply with the law when it comes to how they use their customers’ personal data. State attorneys general have an important role to play in holding them accountable.”
According to an announcement from Shapiro, a bipartisan group asked Zuckerberg to answer questions.
“Pennsylvania residents using Facebook – and users across the country – deserve to know where their data is going, and what it is being used for,” Shapiro said. “Facebook needs to answer our questions so we can know if the company is upholding its end of the bargain with its customers,” the announcement said.
As the attorneys general write in their letter to Zuckerberg, news reports indicate the data of at least 50 million Facebook profiles may have been misused by third-party software developers.
Shapiro and the other attorneys general on the long list said in their letter to Zuckerberg that the revelations “raise many serious questions concerning Facebook’s policies and practices, and the processes in place to ensure they are followed.”
Were those clear? Understandable? “Buried in boilerplate?”
“As the chief law enforcement officers of our respective states, we place a priority on protecting user privacy, which has beed repeatedly placed at risk because of businesses’ failure to properly ensure those protections,” the letter said.
They want, “a full accounting for what transpired.”
Its signature list includes George Jepsen of Connecticut, Tim Fox of Montana, Oregon’s Ellen Rosenblum, Pennsylvania’s Josh Shapiro, Steve Marshall of Alabama, Marty Jackley of South Dakota and many more.
Theyexplained, “Facebook apparently contends that this incident of harvesting tens of millions of profiles was not the result of a technical data breach; however, the reports allege that Facebook gave away the personal data of users who never authorized these developers to obtain it, and relied on terms of service and settings that were confusing and perhaps misleading to its users.”
Said Fox, “Consumers everywhere deserve answers in light of recent revelations regarding the unauthorized harvesting of data from tens of millions of Facebook profiles. I’m pleased to be one of five lead attorneys general in a multi-state, bipartisan inquiry demanding answers from Facebook and ensuring its users can control the privacy of their accounts.”
Oregon’s Rosenblum added, “As a bipartisan group of attorneys general, we care deeply about the privacy of our constituents personal information. Just because they use Facebook and signup for apps does not mean consumers have signed a lifetime agreement to give up their privacy. We have asked Facebook several important questions and we expect clear answers from them. We must be assured that a breach or ‘leak’ of this nature will not happen again.”