Gizmodo reports that at least six attorneys general have launched their own investigations into Facebook’s data practices. The tech giant has faced a number of scandals over the past year, most of which relating to the company’s inability to fulfill their promise to protect users’ privacy, including the Cambridge Analytica fiasco that stole user data to influence the 2016 presidential election, and a more recent incident in which the company paid minors as young as 13 to install a powerful monitoring software on their phones and allowed kids to accrue game charges without their parents’ permission.
They are also dealing with probes in Ireland whose privacy regulating agency is taking advantage of a new policy that allows it to impose large fines on perpetrators, according to Bloomberg.“We’re at various concrete stages in all of them, but they’re all substantially advanced,” said Helen Dixon, Ireland’s data protection commissioner. “The soonest I am going to see an investigation report on my desk, which is when my role kicks in, is likely to be June or July in the bigger cases.”
Pennsylvania and Illinois have formed a coalition with Connecticut that will investigate “existing allegations,” while New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, who have already probed the social media company, is seeking out possible new violations. The investigations will employ the Department of Justice, FBI, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Facebook has already had to pay fines in the UK for its privacy violation, and the country’s Parliament has released damning documents that outline a myriad of transgressions in the company’s data-harvesting practices.
“We’re having productive conversations with attorneys general on this important topic,” Facebook vice president of public policy Will Castleberry wrote in an email to Bloomberg. “Many officials have approached us in a constructive manner, focused on solutions that ensure all companies are protecting people’s information, and we look forward to continuing to work with them.”
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