The US Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) following the social media platform’s scandals over personal information.
Facebook has been in the spotlight over the past couple of weeks after revelations that Cambridge Analytica received data on the site’s users without giving explicit consent to sharing.
Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, said in a statement: “The FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook.”
The tech giant’s deputy chief privacy officer, Rob Sherman, said: “We remain strongly committed to protecting people’s information. We appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have.”
The FTC is looking into whether the tech giant violated a 2011 consent decree with the FTC. If the decree was violated, Facebook could face fines worth up to trillions of dollars.
“This is what Facebook was doing 10 years ago that people objected to, what the FTC should have stopped in 2011,” saidMarc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “It makes zero sense that when a person downloads their apps, they have the ability to transfer the data of their friends.”
Facebook is also under fire over questions of whether the group collected years of contact names, telephone numbers, call lengths and information about text messages from Android users. The company have said that these were collected from those that gave explicit consent and information was uploaded onto secure servers.
“The FTC went in investigating A, then discovered B, C, D, E, F and G. The same thing is going to happen here. They’re going to go in under the consent decree logic, and then they’re going to find other wrongdoing,” said Chris Hoofnagle, faculty director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.
The group has said that the information was not sold or shared with outside apps but was used “to improve people’s experience across Facebook” by helping to connect with others.
The value in the group has plummetted since the revelations and stock slid as much as six percent following investigations by the FTC.