Facebook Faces Broadened Federal Investigations Over Data and Privacy

Posted July 2, 2018 8:29 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON — Facebook said on Monday that it faced an expansion of federal investigations into its sharing of user data with the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, with more government agencies inquiring about the matter and examining the social network’s statements about the incident.

The Justice Department and the FBI have each broadened their inquiries into Cambridge Analytica by also focusing on Facebook, the Silicon Valley company said. In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission has started an investigation into the social network’s public statements about Cambridge Analytica, Facebook said.

The widening interest in Facebook by the federal agencies is the latest fallout from revelations in March, when The New York Times and others reported that the world’s largest social network had mishandled the data of millions of its users. The user data was harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm with ties to the Trump campaign, which used the information to build psychographic profiles of American voters.

“We are cooperating with officials in the U.S., U.K. and beyond,” a Facebook spokesman said. “We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged to continue our assistance as their work continues.”

The Times reported that the Justice Department and FBI had opened investigations into Cambridge Analytica in May. Facebook is also facing an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, which is looking into whether the company violated a privacy agreement with the agency.

The Washington Post reported earlier the expanded federal investigations and the involvement of the SEC.