Many persons believing in Justice have been barking up the wrong tree …
An alphabet soup of federal agencies are now poring over Facebook’s disclosures and the company’s statements about its response to the improper use of its user information by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission have joined the Justice Department in examining how the personal information of 71 million Americans was distributed by Facebook and used by Cambridge Analytica, according to a Washington Post report released Monday.
Continued below the fold …
BREAKING: Representatives for the FBI, the SEC and the FTC join Justice Department in its inquiries into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica – Washington Post https://t.co/YVrdLxQHW7
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) July 2, 2018
According to the Post, the emphasis of the investigation has been on what Facebook disclosed about its information sharing with Cambridge Analytica and whether those disclosures correlate to the timeline that’s being established by government investigators. The fear, for Facebook, is that the government may decide that the company didn’t reveal enough to either investors or the public about the extent of the misallocation of user data. Another concern is whether the Cambridge Analytica decision violated the terms of an earlier settlement Facebook made with the Federal Trade Commission.
The redoubled efforts of so many divisions could potentially ensnare Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who was brought before Congress with other Facebook officials to testify about the breaches. People familiar with the investigation told the Post that the officials’ testimony was being scrutinized.
The Federal Trade Commission first confirmed that it was investigating Facebook in March.
Acting director Tom Pahl said at the time:
The FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers. Foremost among these tools is enforcement action against companies that fail to honor their privacy promises, including to comply with Privacy Shield, or that engage in unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers in violation of the FTC Act. Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements. Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.
○ The FTC Is Officially Investigating Facebook’s Data Practices | Wired – March 26, 2018 |
○ Facebook’s privacy practices are under investigation, FTC confirms | The Guardian – Cambridge Analytica Files |
The multiple investigations by U.S. and U.K. agencies into the ways in which Cambridge Analytica accessed and exploited data on social media users in political campaigns have already pushed the political consulting firm into bankruptcy.
Coverage of Cambridge Analytica by The Guardian earlier this year …
Two Brexit campaign groups under investigation for potential collusion during the EU referendum used identical datasets to target potential adverts at Facebook users.
Vote Leave, the lead campaigner for a Brexit vote, and BeLeave, a campaign group run by an activist named Darren Grimes, used identical data to target audiences, according to a letter from Facebook to the Electoral Commission that raises new questions about potential coordination between the two groups.
Vote Leave spent millions of pounds buying targeted online advertising through AggregateIQ during the referendum campaign, pushing up against its strict £7m spending limit. However, in the closing days of the campaign, Vote Leave donated £625,000 to Grimes, who then also spent the money with AggregateIQ. At that time Grimes was regularly seen volunteering in the Vote Leave office.
The new letter was sent from Facebook to the Electoral Commission as part of its ongoing investigation into potential breaches of campaign finance rules and was published by the parliamentary committee investigating fake news.
Related reading …
○ British MPs threaten Mark Zuckerberg with summons over Facebook data | The Guardian – May 1, 2018 |
○ Brexit Scam: Faulty Exit Poll and Hedge Fund Insiders
○ NY Times: Collusion Trump Transition Team with UAE/Israel
○ Cambridge Analytica Used ‘Weapons-grade’ Communications
○ Steve Bannon on Cambridge Analytica – SCL Group
○ Leaked: Cambridge Analytica’s blueprint for Trump victory
[Cross-posted from European Tribune – where dissent is NOT troll rated!]