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Posted on March 26 2018

National Association of Attorneys General

(NAAG)

Earlier today 37 State Attorneys General sent a two page letter to Facebook. The letter states in part:

  • …” are profoundly concerned about the recently published reports that personal user information from Facebook profiles was provided to third parties without the users’ knowledge or consent.“ (emphasis added)

 

  • “As the chief law enforcement officers….we place a priority on protecting user privacy, which has been repeatedly placed at risk because of businesses’ failure to properly ensure those protections.”

 

  • ..”from news reports that the business practices within the social media world have evolved to give multiple software developers access to personal information of Facebook users. These reports raise serious questions regarding consumer privacy.” (emphasis added)

 

The NAAG letter goes on to state:

  • …” Facebook’s previous policies allowed developers to access the personal data of “friends” of people who used applications on the platform, without the knowledge or express consent of those “friends.”

 

  • ..” Facebook took as much as thirty (30) percent of payments made through the developers’ applications by Facebook users.” (emphasis added)

 

This needs to sink in, clearly both Professor Kogan and Cambridge Analytica were less than truthful and lacked candor in the misappropriation of the 50,000,000 Facebook profile/data. The brutal reality is Facebook allowed and in some cases encouraged 3rd party App developers to have unrestricted access to Personal data. Hugely problematic for Facebook.

I’m certain I’m not alone but I felt Facebook’s response was, lack luster. Also I am eagerly looking forward to Twitter’s comeuppance. In the NAAG letter they imply as much by speaking more broadly of “social media companies”. I don’t know when Twitter will also be implicated but I suspect, soon.

  • “Facebook allowed third parties to obtain personal data of users who never authorized it, and relied on terms of service and settings that were confusing and perhaps misleading to its users.”

Rightfully so the NAAG cited the following questions in their letter to Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Again State Attorneys Generals are the “top” law enforcement officers of their respective States. So these questions are

  • Were those terms of service clear and understandable, or buried in boilerplate where few users would even read them?
  • How did Facebook monitor what these developers did with all the data that they collected?
  • What type of controls did Facebook have over the data given to developers?
  • Did Facebook have protective safeguards in place, including audits, to ensure developers were not misusing the Facebook user’s data?
  • How many users in our respective states were impacted?

Link to NAAG letter here 

NAAG March 26, 2018 letter to Facebook

 

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