Federal agencies expand research on Facebook

They sharpen the research on the management of the social network of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Several federal agencies have joined the Department of Justice's investigation into the data scandal involving Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica consultancy , The Washington Post reported Monday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have joined the investigation, according to the Post . The Department of Justice investigation follows Facebook's revelations in March that Cambridge Analytica, a digital consultancy that had links to Trump's presidential campaign, improperly accessed personal information from up to 87 million users of the social network.

Federal agencies expand research on Facebook

The investigation is also expanding to focus on Facebook statements after the scandal and whether the information for the public and its investors were "sufficiently complete and timely," according to the Post . In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in two Congressional hearings on the controversy . His comments to Capitol Hill are also being analyzed as part of the expanded investigation, the newspaper said.

Facebook accepted to know the investigations, but did not comment on them.

"We are cooperating with officials in the United States, the United Kingdom and beyond," a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. "We have provided public testimonies, answered questions and promised to continue our assistance as his work continues."

The representatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission did not respond immediately to requests for comments. The FBI refused to comment.

The expanded investigation underscores the intense pressure that the US government has put on Facebook, since it deals with accusations that it did not do enough to avoid abuse on its platform or protect the personal information of its more than 2 billion users. The company also remains in the line of fire with lawmakers over Russian trolls that bought ads and posted false information and divisive content on the platform in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 elections and sow discord among voters.

The participation of additional federal agencies in the Justice Department's investigation expands the focus of attention beyond Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook data, to the reaction of the social network to the scandal. The social network said it discovered for the first time the improper use of data from Cambridge Analytica in 2015, but did not disclose it until March, after queries from The New York Times and The Guardian .

After the news of the scandal broke in March, Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg remained silent for five days, prompting the #WheresZuck hashtag to circulate on Twitter. After that, Zuckerberg made an apology tour, granting interviews to several news media such as CNN, The Times and Wired.



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