Mississippi AG investigating Facebook


Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says he has put Facebook on notice as he investigates the social media giant’s user privacy practices.

The company is able being investigated by the Federal trade Commission for allegedly providing users’ personal information to third parties without users’ consent or knowledge.

The investigation covers the time period starting in November 2013 and forward.

Hood says he’s investigating whether Facebook violated the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act when it gave permission to University of Cambridge Professor Aleksandr Kogan to harvest information of users who downloaded his app, thisisyourdigitallife. Types of information collected include user location, friends of the user, and user activity on the social media platform, which was then sold to a third party.

Hood has asked Facebook to preserve both paper and electronic documents that would provide information relating to this investigation.

Hood joined a bipartisan coalition with 36 state attorneys general in sending a separate letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, raising questions about the social networking site’s policies and practices, including:

• Were those terms of service clear and understandable?
• 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 the states of the signatory Attorneys General 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?

According to Hood, news reports indicate the data of at least 50 million Facebook profiles may have been misused by third-party software developers.

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