CONGRESSMAN TONY CÁRDENAS WANTS PRIVACY ANSWERS FROM FACEBOOK
LOS ANGELES, CA – Amidst the still-developing Cambridge Analytica scandal, I have joined my colleagues in sending a letter to the FTC urging them to fully investigate how Facebook, the largest social media company in the world, failed to adequately protect the privacy of more than 50 million people. I hope to use the FTC’s inquiry into this matter to inform my questioning of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he appears before the Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11.
The ease with which foreign political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was able to retrieve data from users and friends of users, and then exploit this data for purposes not disclosed to consumers, is truly troubling. I am also troubled by Facebook’s slow and passive response, and its unwillingness or inability to verify that users’ data is not being exploited. We hope that the investigation by the Federal Trade Commission will lead to results and help create a blueprint for how our tech companies should be protecting consumers’ data and privacy.
But this isn’t just about one instance of mishandling of data. What’s truly concerning is how little control we currently have over our data, and how easy it was for this one firm to game the system. With billions of social media users entrusting increasingly influential tech companies with their data, how many other Cambridge Analyticas are out there? And how can Facebook prevent them from exploiting and manipulating data to affect critical events like elections in the future?
Facebook has a basic responsibility to protect its users. Little in their public statements has assuaged my concern that the company properly protected its users in this case, and can properly protect them in the future. I look forward to the FTC’s response, and I look forward to learning more about this issue from Mr. Zuckerberg on April 11.