California Is Also Investigating Facebook Over Privacy Violations

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Facebook's antitrust headache isn't going to get better anytime soon. Last month, it was reported that a total of 47 attorneys general are investigating the social media giant over antitrust violations. A notable omission in that long list of AGs was the one from the place Facebook calls home: California. Well, it turns out the state has been separately investigating Facebook over privacy violations for over a year now.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra recently confirmed that Facebook has failed to comply with the state's multiple requests for information, prompting his office to launch a formal investigation against the company. A case was filed in the California Superior Court on Wednesday.

In a press conference earlier this week, Becerra said his office has been investigating whether Facebook violated the state law by "deceiving users and ignoring its own policies in allowing third parties broad access to user data," CNN reports. The probe started following last year's Cambridge Analytica Scandal.

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The state of California has served Facebook with two subpoenas since June last year. They contain several sets of questions and requests for documents. The state is trying to find out, among other things, the number of Facebook users in the state, and what third parties have access to their data.

Facebook reluctant to share user information

Facebook, however, has continued to drag its feet and refused to comply with requests, Becerra suggested. The company has not provided answers to 19 sets of questions and records in response to six document requests issued by the attorney general's office over the past one and a half years. Facebook has also refused to provide copies of executive communications.

"If Facebook had complied with our legitimate investigative requests, we would not be making this announcement today," Becerra said. "But our work must move forward."

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Facebook, meanwhile, is denying all these allegations. The company is of the view that it has been cooperating extensively in the investigation. "We have cooperated extensively with the State of California's investigation," said Will Castleberry, Facebook VP of state and local policy. "To date, we have provided thousands of pages of written responses and hundreds of thousands of documents."

Facebook's troubles pile up

With California also formally looking into Facebook's alleged privacy mishaps, the social media giant now faces investigations from almost every single state in the US. As mentioned earlier, the New York-led antitrust investigation of Facebook has now gained support from a total of 47 AGs.

In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also investigating Facebook over similar allegations. It has been a tumultuous few months for Facebook and there's no apparent end to that just yet.

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Sumit is passionate about technology and has been professionally writing on tech since 2017. He’s a mathematics graduate by education and enjoys teaching basic mathematics tricks to school kids in his spare time. Sumit believes in artificial intelligence and dreams of a fully open, intelligent and connected world.

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