German legislators to grill Facebook manager on data privacy

German legislators to grill Facebook manager on data privacy

Facebook Inc, which uses personal data to sell targeted ads but does not sell data, caused an uproar last month when it said political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, whose clients have included President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, had wrongly harvested the information of millions of users. The audit was completed on February 11, 2017, based on the Facebook Privacy Program under the Management's Assertion.

Facebook had struck a deal with the FTC in 2011 after an investigation into the social media company's privacy practices.

According to a heavily redacted copy of the latest audit published on FTC's website, there seemed to be nothing wrong with Facebook's privacy measures when the audit was conducted.

Nearly two-thirds of people were concerned about how there seemed to be little effective regulation over what Facebook or Cambridge Analytica were doing with their information, while a further two thirds were also anxious that Facebook didn't check what the third party, who obtained user data, was going to do with that information. Further privacy scandals at Facebook have been reported since.

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In 2014, when Kogan's app began gathering data, Facebook allowed developers to glean data about downloaders' friends, subject to their privacy settings.

PwC declined to comment, but Facebook said Friday that keeping data secure is a priority.

In questions comparing Facebook with other companies (Twitter, Google, YouTube, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Snapchat), the social network came out badly. But Facebook didn't inform users about the data transfers until several weeks ago.

Wylie, who worked for the company in 2014 and 2015, also claims Cambridge Analytica might have violated U.S. election laws by using non-US citizens to work on American campaigns during the 2014 midterm election cycle.

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Facebook's trustworthiness however had taken a severe hit in the survey with only 25% of respondents saying they trusted the social media service as opposed to 60% trusting Google, 49% trusting Apple and 36% trusting Amazon.

Rotenberg calls the conclusions in the Pricewaterhouse Coopers report "extraordinary", adding that the report marks an "absolute failure" of the oversight mechanisms.

I should emphasise that the Kogan/GSR datasets and questionnaires were not the only Facebook-connected questionnaires and datasets which Cambridge Analytica used.

"There were any number of claims that could have been pursued by the FTC prior to Cambridge Analytica", Rotenberg tells MediaPost.

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Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat from Nevada, said during last week's hearing that in her view, "these requirements were not met", because user consent shouldn't have been buried in privacy settings.

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