Facebook’s response to data scandal ‘diminished’ trust — EU

The European Union headquarters in the Belgian capital, Brussels [Photo: Press TV]
The European Union (EU) headquarters in the Belgian capital, Brussels [Photo: Press TV]

Facebook must do more to address allegations of large-scale data mining, the EU has said, warning that the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal threatens democracy and has diminished trust in the social media giant.

Facebook has come under fire after a co-founder of data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica told an undercover reporter that information from about 50 million Facebook users was taken without their consent and used for U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

The issue has broad “consequences for the democratic process,’’ EU Justice Commissioner, Vera Jourova, wrote to Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, in a letter seen Tuesday.

Ms Jourova added that her concerns were “not alleviated’’ by Facebook’s response to the scandal.

“This is particularly disappointing given our efforts to build a relationship based on trust with you and your colleagues,” Ms Jourova wrote. “This trust is now diminished.”

Facebook has long been used for political marketing, she noted, adding that the apparent lack of transparency and alleged abuse of personal data could have a “negative impact on the quality of this debate and even on our electoral process.”

The commissioner called on Facebook to “take steps to regain the trust of its users and meet its obligation to society.”

Ms Jourova asked whether the data of EU citizens had been affected by the recent scandal, whether a similar thing could happen again, how Facebook would apply EU privacy laws and whether stricter rules are needed, giving the company two weeks to respond.

Cambridge Analytica is accused of illegally obtaining information from Facebook users after misleadingly gaining access under the guise of an app.

(dpa/NAN)

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