The European Union, the British Information Commissioner and US lawmakers stepped up pressure on Facebook for a data scandal on users that threatens the business.

The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, summarized the issues in a tweet Tuesday:

The EU and the UK announced on Monday separate investigations into information that Cambridge Analytica reportedly collected information from 50 million Facebook users without their consent, as part of the investigation. a data analysis project for the 2016 Trump campaign. A number of US lawmakers also began demanding responses from Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and other prominent leaders of Silicon Valley, in the midst of a growing outcry over news released last week.

In the UK, where Cambridge Analytica is based, an investigation is also underway.

“A full understanding of the facts, data flows, and uses of data is imperative for my ongoing investigation,” said British Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham. “This includes any new information, statements or evidence that may have been discovered in recent days.”

In advance of history

At the end of last week, Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, Strategic Communication Laboratories Group, as a result of disclosures that they had obtained personal information from more than 50 million Facebook users in violation terms of service.

“Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do, and we demand the same from people who use Facebook apps,” said Paul Grewal, Associate General Counsel at Facebook. “If these reports are true, it’s a serious abuse of our rules.”

Aleksandr Kogan, a professor at the University of Cambridge, violated Facebook’s policy in 2015 and lied to the company after transmitting data to SCL / Cambridge Analytica with a personality prediction app that 39, he created “thisisyourdigitallife”. his position.

The application, which has been downloaded by about 270,000 Facebook users, has basically collected information not only from these users, but also from their friends, in order to create sophisticated profiles based on their likes , preferences and other information. their online business, according to Facebook.

After the 2015 violation, Facebook removed the site’s application and obtained certification from Kogan and SCL / Cambridge Analytica – and also from Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, another third-party company that has got the data – that they had destroyed all the information obtained through the application, according to Facebook.

As a result of its suspension, Cambridge Analytica argued that it had entered into a contract with Global Science Research to obtain the data in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act and that it had removed any and all data obtained by GSR after learning of the breach of Facebook’s terms. service.

Cambridge Analytica issued a statement claiming that she had worked with Facebook to ensure its satisfaction with the measures taken, and that she had violated no conditions of service knowingly. He also provided a signed statement confirming the deletion of all incorrectly collected data.

The company adds that no data obtained from GSR was used as part of the services it provided during the 2016 Trump campaign. The company subsequently denied a report on Channel 4 in the UK that it had proposed setting up “honeypots” to trick politicians into scandals.

Christopher Wylie, a whistleblower and former employee of Cambridge Analytica, said in multiple media interviews and on Twitter that Facebook had suspended his account for denouncing his involvement in this activity.

Requested hearings

Meaning. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., And John Kennedy, R-La., Asked Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to hold hearings with testimonials from top leaders of Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Meaning. John Thune, R-La., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., And Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Sent a letter to Zuckerberg and Nigel Oaks, CEO of SCL Group, requesting a briefing and additional information on sharing user data. . Thune chairs the Trade, Science and Transportation Committee, and Wicker and Moran chair two of its major subcommittees responsible for monitoring consumer data.

Facebook has been under fire since the 2016 general election for spreading false news aimed at influencing voter behavior, particularly in some key states. President Trump won the Electoral College with narrow victories in three states, despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.

“This has a particular resonance for politicians and regulators in the United States and Britain, who think Facebook has run out of control over misuse of the platform,” said Rick Edmonds, analyst media at Poynter.

The Federal Trade Commission failed to enforce a 2011 consent order in which Facebook is committed to protecting the privacy of users’ data, said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Center for International Trade. electronic privacy information.

“Facebook should never have divulged this data to a third party,” he told the E-Commerce Times, “but the FTC dropped the ball, it just did not not enforced his own judgment. ”


David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He wrote for Reuters, Bloomberg, New York Crain Affairs and The New York Times .

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