Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook under fire from politicians over data controversy

Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic want answers after Facebook's latest controversy involving the 2016 electio...

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 11:58 AM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 11:58 AM

Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic want answers after Facebook's latest controversy involving the 2016 election.

The growing scrutiny comes after news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump's campaign, reportedly gained access to information about 50 million Facebook users.

The data was collected by a professor for academic purposes in accordance with Facebook rules, the company said. But then the information was transferred to third parties, including Cambridge Analytica. The transfer violated Facebook policies.

Facebook on Friday night said it has booted Cambridge Analytica from using its platform.

News of the data transfer sparked renewed questions about whether the social media company does enough to protect its users.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Saturday that her office is opening an investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote on Twitter Saturday that "Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary."

"It's clear these platforms can't police themselves," she said. "They say 'trust us.'

And Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, called on Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee.

The furor began with a blog post Friday from Facebook deputy general counsel Paul Grewal. The post said that in 2015, Facebook learned of the illicit data transfer and "demanded certifications" that the "information had been destroyed."

Related: Facebook investigating employee's links to Cambridge Analytica

But, Grewal added, several days earlier the company "received reports" that not all the data had been deleted, and Facebook suspended all the involved parties from its platform while it investigates. Grenwal also said that Facebook is committed to "vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people's information."

But the post did little to quash backlash.

US House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, called on Facebook to explain why it provided the data in question to a professor in the first place and prove the information had been destroyed.

"They must also answer questions about how they have notified users about this breach of their personal data," he said in a statement.

Schiff added that he thought Facebook made the "right move" by suspending the involved parties from its platform, but said he wants Facebook to explain why it did not suspend the users when the company learned of the data transfer back in 2015.

Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, said the ordeal provided more evidence that "online political advertising market is essentially the Wild West."

He urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would "bring transparency and accountability to online political advertisements."

Related: Facebook is again having to account for its role in 2016 election

In Britain, Damian Collins - who chairs the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in the House of Commons - said his committee has questioned Facebook about its policies for giving user data to companies.

"Their answers have consistently understated this risk, and have also been misleading to the Committee," Collins said. "I will be writing to Mark Zuckerberg asking that either he, or another senior executive from the company, appear to give evidence in front of the Committee as part our inquiry."

"It is not acceptable that they have previously sent witnesses who seek to avoid asking difficult questions by claiming not to know the answers," Collins added.

In a statement Sunday, Facebook doubled down on the promise it made Friday to do a "comprehensive internal and external review."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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