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March 26, 2018

MADIGAN & 36 ATTORNEYS GENERAL DEMAND ANSWERS FROM FACEBOOK

Madigan & Other Attorneys General Demand Information on Facebook’s Business Practices & Privacy Protections

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 36 other attorneys general today sent a letter demanding answers from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the company’s business practices and privacy protections.

The letter from Madigan and the other attorneys general stems from reports that indicate the data of at least 50 million Facebook profiles may have been misused by third-party software developers. Facebook’s policies allowed developers to access the personal data of “friends” of people who used certain applications – without the knowledge or consent of these users.

“Facebook apparently contends that this incident of harvesting tens of millions of profiles was not the result of a technical data breach; however, the reports allege that 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,” the letter states.

“Facebook must provide detailed information about how it uses the vast amount of data it collects, how it protects that data and what steps it takes to maintain privacy of users’ data,” Madigan said.

The letter to Zuckerberg raises a series of questions about the social networking site’s policies and practices, including:

  • 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 users’ data?
  • How many users in Illinois and the 36 other states were impacted?
  • When did Facebook learn of this breach of privacy protections?
  • During this timeframe, what other third-party “research” applications were also able to access the data of unsuspecting Facebook users?

Joining Madigan in sending the letter were the attorneys general of Alabama, American Samoa, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

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