Facebook isn’t cooperating with privacy probe, California AG says

Facebook isn’t cooperating with privacy probe, California AG says

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, October 23, 2019.

Erin Scott | Reuters

New court documents filed Wednesday give the first look into the state of California’s 18-month-long investigation into Facebook’s privacy dealings.

In those documents, California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra says Facebook has failed to comply with its subpoenas for more information in the state’s ongoing privacy investigation.

Becerra is now asking the San Francisco County Superior Court to require Facebook to comply with its requests for additional documents related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The information they’re seeking to obtain includes communications among executives, documentation of any changes made to Facebook’s privacy settings, as well as any documents detailing Facebook’s privacy program. 

Representatives from Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The AG says that Facebook has “refused to conduct a complete search for responsive documents” and has not searched emails of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg that might relate to its investigation. Facebook was similarly uncooperative throughout the Federal Trade Commission’s previous probe into the company’s privacy practices, the filing states.

The probe has expanded to look at third parties’ access to user data, which was supplied by Facebook, including “which apps Facebook granted access to user data despite users restricting access to their information.” 

In 2018, prosecutors from the Northern District of California, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation began probing Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The scandal erupted after it was revealed that 87 million users’ data was improperly harvested and shared with the Trump-affiliated campaign research firm. 

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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