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Your Privacy Up for Grabs: Social Media Giant Facebook Rocked by Privacy Scandals

03-27-2018
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Facebook is under fire over its privacy practices.

Monday, the Federal Trade Commission revealed it has launched an investigation of the social networking company following a week of privacy scandals including whether the company engaged in "unfair acts" that cause "substantial injury" to consumers.

Thirty-seven state attorneys general are also seeking answers on how Facebook monitored what app developers did with data collected on Facebook users and whether Facebook had safeguards to prevent misuse.

The state attorney of Cook County, Illinois filed suit against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica for consumer fraud.

"This was a major breach of trust, and I'm really sorry that this happened," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Cambridge Analytica, a political data-mining firm, is accused of lifting data from some 50 million Facebook users to influence voters in the 2016 election.

Zuckerberg added, "Our responsibility now is to make sure that this doesn't happen again."

The scandal has exposed the lax safeguards at Facebook with app developers allegedly taking advantage of a lack of privacy protections to snag personal data from tens of millions of Facebook users and use that info for politics.
 
"Billions of users are starting to discover what can actually be done with data that seems somewhat innocuous like baby pictures and likes of articles that we read somewhere the Internet," said Jesse Goldhammer, Associate Dean of School of Information at University of California, Berkeley.

Facebook was also hit by another controversy after revelations that the social network has been storing tons of contact information of android users.

The company acknowledges that in 2015 it began uploading call and text logs from phones running Google's Android system through its messenger app and later through Facebook Lite.

The fallout involving Facebook has many, including Apple's Tim Cook, calling for new privacy laws. 

But some say they don't see any plans from Facebook.

"What I heard was a set of aspirations and a desire to earn back the trust of its users," said Goldhammer.  "What's problematic about that is that Facebook really hasn't changed its business model since it's inception, which is it harvests the data of its users and it sells that data to advertisers, or in this case to let an academic researcher in England use data which he in turn sold to Cambridge Analytica."

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