An alphabetical coup of federal agencies now pours over Facebook's information and the company's statements about its response to incorrect use of the user information from the political consultant Cambridge Analytica.
Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission have joined the Justice Department by investigating how personal information about 71 million Americans was distributed by Facebook and used by Cambridge Analytica, according to a Washington Post report released Monday. 1
The redirected effort of so many divisions could potentially prevent Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was brought in front of Congress with other Facebook officials to witness the violations. People familiar with the survey told the post that officials' testimony was investigated.
In a statement, Facebook noted that it had received questions from different agencies and that it was collaborative.
Federal Trade Commission first confirmed that Facebook was investigated in March.
Acting leader Tom Pahl said:
The FTC is firm and completely committed to using all its tools to protect consumer privacy. Prominent among these tools is enforcement against companies that do not respect their privacy laws, including compliance with Privacy Shield, or engaging in unfair actions that cause significant harm to consumers in violation of the FTC Act. Companies that have decided earlier FTC measures must also comply with FTC ordering terms that impose privacy and data security requirements. Consequently, the FTC takes very serious recent press releases that give significant concerns about Facebook privacy practices. Today, the FTC confirms that it has an open, non-public investigation of these practices.
The more investigations from US and British agencies to the way Cambridge Analytica has access to and exploited data on social media users in political campaigns has already pushed the political consulting firm into bankruptcy.
It is unlikely (readily impossible) that Facebook will suffer something like the same fate and the company's share price has already recovered from the negative impact the scandal has made on the social network's market value. Instead, the long-term surveys show the potential for government regulators (and legislators) to engage in the company's business.
As with everything else in Washington, it's always covered up – never the crime.