(Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

FTC is investigating Facebook over privacy practices

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook a week of privacy scandals

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook’s privacy practices following a week of privacy scandals including allegations a Trump-affiliated political consulting firm got data inappropriately from millions of Facebook users.

Facebook’s stock, which already took a big hit last week, plunged as a result.

Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the probe would include whether the company engaged in “unfair acts” that cause “substantial injury” to consumers.

RELATED: Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Facebook’s privacy practices have come under fire after revelations that Cambridge Analytica got data on Facebook users, including information on friends of people who had downloaded a psychological quiz app, even though those friends hadn’t given explicit consent to sharing. Facebook is also facing questions over reports that it collected had years of contact names, telephone numbers, call lengths and information about text messages from Android users.

Facebook said in a statement on Monday that the company remains “strongly committed” to protecting people’s information and that it welcomes the opportunity to answer the FTC’s questions. News outlets reported on the FTC investigation last week, but the FTC hadn’t confirmed it until Monday. Facebook reached a settlement with the FTC in 2011 offering privacy assurances.

Facebook said Sunday that this information is uploaded to secure servers and comes only from people who gave explicit consent to allow it. Officials say the data is not sold or shared with users’ friends or outside apps. They say the data is used “to improve people’s experience across Facebook” by helping to connect with others. But the company did not spell out exactly what it used the data for or why it needed it.

RELATED: Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, believes Facebook was in violation of the 2011 settlement in letting Cambridge Analytica harvest data on friends of Facebook users.

“This is what Facebook was doing 10 years ago that people objected to, what the FTC should have stopped in 2011,” Rotenberg said. “It makes zero sense that when a person downloads their apps, they have the ability to transfer the data of their friends.”

Although Zuckerberg talked about changes in 2014 that would have prevented this, Rotenberg said it should have been banned already under the 2011 consent decree. He said the FTC had dropped the ball in failing to enforce that.

Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Carey Price brings young fan to tears after surprising him at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

“It’s something you’re called to do”: Cullen reflects on time as MP

For Nathan Cullen, it’s not goodbye, it’s farewell.

Local artist Sesyaz Saunders’ art on display at YVR

Saunders worked with renowned artist Robert Davidson on a large panel

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Commercial fishers in B.C. now required to wear life-jackets on deck: WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC reports 24 work-related deaths in the commercial fishing industry between 2007 and 2018

Beekeeping Rossland boy finds human kindness sweet as honey

Family overwhelmed by kind offerings of strangers

B.C. files second legal challenge against Alberta over turn-off-taps law

B.C. government filed a second lawsuit against Alberta on June 14

Tax credits, penalizing big polluters, key to Conservative climate plan

Canada’s commitment is to cut emissions to 70 per cent of what they were in 2005 before 2030

Victoria double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst found no shoe prints on scene

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

Most Read