California reveals Facebook probe, states social networks company stonewalling investigation – Reuters

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California revealed for the very first time an 18-month examination into Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) privacy practices and accused the social media giant on Wednesday of hampering the probe by stopping working to turn over emails from President Mark Zuckerberg.

The revelation is the current problem for Facebook, which is currently facing an investigation by 47 U.S. states over concerns the business engaged in anti-competitive practices, put consumer data at risk and pushed up marketing prices.

Will Castleberry, Facebook’s vice president of state and local policy, stated the company has “worked together extensively with the state of California’s investigation.”

“To date we have actually provided countless pages of written responses and numerous thousands of files,” he stated.

A spokesperson for California Chief law officer Xavier Becerra quickly shot back: “It appears we have different definitions of cooperation,” noting there were 25 requests the business decreased to respond to or offer files to fulfill.

The company’s stock price hardly budged after the statement of the California probe.

The Facebook state examinations become part of a bigger landscape of probes of huge tech firms by the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

The Massachusetts chief law officer released a similar privacy focused investigation into the company in 2015 after the Cambridge Analytica discoveries appeared, while Washington, D.C.’s chief law officer revealed in December that he was taking legal action against Facebook over the scandal.

California’s examination started in 2018 as a probe into the Cambridge Analytica scandal however “expanded gradually to an investigation into whether Facebook has actually violated California law, by to name a few things, deceiving users and overlooking its own policies in allowing 3rd celebrations broad access to user information,” the agency said in a court filing.

Facebook had wrongly shared information belonging to 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. The consultancy’s clients included President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Becerra’s investigators asked the court to require Facebook to turn over information about designers and other 3rd celebrations’ access to information and modifications in privacy settings for Facebook.

“If Facebook had complied with our genuine investigative requests, we would not be making this statement today. But we should move our examination forward. We are left with little choice,” Becerra told press reporters.

Becerra’s petition said the June 17 subpoena and interrogatories followed Facebook’s preliminary reactions and later news reports “concerning other claims of misdeed by Facebook over users’ privacy. Facebook’s reactions to this 2nd subpoena and set of interrogatories is patently lacking.”

In particular, the attorney general’s workplace indicated a failure to take a look at communications of Facebook founder and CEO Zuckerberg.

“Facebook has actually not searched the email of the business’s primary executive and chief operating officers for files responsive to the subpoena,” according to the filing to a California state court in San Francisco County.

The filing paints Facebook as a company that permitted app developers to gain access to non-public info about its users, which they used to “construct profiles on users, and sell those to 3rd parties.” This consists of apps affiliated with Cambridge Analytica.

“Questions have actually developed as to what Facebook understood about this conduct, why it stopped working to prevent app suppliers from misusing user data and whether this habits breached California law,” the attorney general of the United States’s office stated in the filing.

In July, Facebook accepted pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine to solve a Federal Trade Commission probe into its privacy practices and stated it would will enhance safeguards on user information.

(This story refiles to display in 5th paragraph that comment is from spokesperson for the California lawyer general, not from the attorney general of the United States)

Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Additonal reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Katie Paul in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

This content was originally published here.

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