US Consumer Agency Confirms Probe Into Facebook Data Scandal

Mark Zuckerberg asked to testify before congress

The political pressure on Facebook is continuing to intensify as the The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) confirmed that it has launched an official investigation.

The social network giant is also facing calls on both sides of the Atlantic for more information on how its user data was leaked.

A key Senator has also asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress.

The Independent reports: The scrutiny stems from revelations that a political consultancy employed by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign harvested some 50 million Facebook users’ worth of data via a survey app

As Facebook executives have scrambled to reassure users their personal information remains protected, elected officials have demanded Mr Zuckerberg himself appear before Congress. That push gained momentum with the embrace of Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who chairs the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.

Paralleling the augmented attention from Congress, the Federal Trade Commission confirmed it had opened an investigation into Facebook’s privacy and data security practices.

“The FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook”, Tom Pahl, acting director of the commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.

Mr Grassley asked the Facebook founder to testify at an upcoming hearing on data privacy that would examine “the protection and monitoring of consumer data”, according to a press release from his office. A Facebook representative said the company was reviewing the invitation.

Members of the Senate Judiciary committee from both parties had urged Mr Grassley to summon Mr Zuckerberg to a hearing, saying the founder’s public apology and explanation was inadequate.

His acquiescence makes the Senate Judiciary Committee the second panel to formally request Mr Zuckerberg’s appearance, with the leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week responding to Mr Zuckerberg’s statement that he would be “happy” to testify before Congress if he is the right person by saying “as CEO of Facebook, he is the right witness to provide answers to the American people”.