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US targets more investigations on Facebook’s privacy

Social Networking

US targets more investigations on Facebook’s privacy

Facebook has become a target of at least three more state investigations due to the alleged mishandling of user data thus there has been an expansion in the number of Government agencies investigating privacy-violation claims against Facebook, according to individuals with the similar matter.

According to anonymous individuals, the state probes are coalescing into two main groups analyzing the social-media company’s data-protection practices.

Pennsylvania Attorney, General Josh Shapiro and Illinois counterpart, Kwame Raoul, combined forces with Connecticut’s William Tong and the groups are focused on investigating present allegations, one of the people said.

New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, which were already known to be probing Facebook, are seeking to uncover any potential unknown violations, said one of the people. North Carolina Attorney, General Josh Stein is also examining part of a multi-state effort, suggested his office.

The probes signal pressure on Facebook after a series of confidentiality scandals sparked by disclosures a year ago that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, hired by President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, had access to data on tens of millions of the social network’s users.

Such lapses are also fueling calls for U.S. legislation, even as investigations progress with the Federal Trade Commission and in the European Union. This week U.S. senators pressed the social-media company over reports that the company secretly paid users for their data and permitted kids playing Facebook games to make purchases amounting to thousands of dollars, a exercise that the company referred to as “friendly fraud.”

Will Castleberry, a Facebook vice president of public policy, in an email, “We’re having productive conversations with attorneys general on this important topic.” He went on to say that, “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.”

States often team up to investigate companies over conduct that’s national in scope, sometimes in tandem with the Justice Department. Such groups frequently reach settlements or file suit, as they did when a group sued Standard & Poor’s in 2013 over faulty ratings on mortgage bonds. Major deals include a $25 billion settlement with banks in 2012 over foreclosure practices and a sweeping settlement with the tobacco industry in the 1990s.

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