Senators ask how Facebook’s actions are consistent with CEO Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress


Washington (June 4, 2018) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, today called on Facebook to answer questions about new revelations detailed in The New York Times that it shared user information with at least 60 device companies, such as Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and others, without user consent. In their letter, Senators Markey and Blumenthal seek information regarding Facebook’s data sharing policies and practices, Facebook’s security monitoring of device companies with user data access, and whether Facebook has any other data sharing arrangements with external entities. In 2011, Facebook entered into a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after the company was alleged to have deceived consumers by ensuring personal information on Facebook would be kept private but repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public. 


“The new revelations that Facebook provided access to users’ personal information, including religion, political preferences, and relationship status, to dozens of mobile device manufacturers without users’ explicit consent are deeply concerning,” write Senators Markey and Blumenthal to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “These reports further add to Facebook’s track record of opacity around privacy practices and call into question whether Facebook violated its 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).”


A copy of the letter to Facebook can be found HERE.


Among the questions that the Senators ask Facebook to respond to include:

  • What data security and privacy requirements, if any, were included in Facebook’s contracts with device company partners that had access to the device-integrated APIs and other similar arrangements?
  • Is Facebook able to confirm that none of its device company partners misused user data or otherwise violated its terms of service?
  • Did Facebook provide users with the ability to opt out of the data sharing, including “friends data” sharing, of device-integrated APIs?  


Senators Markey and Blumenthal previously queried Facebook about its role in and response to the troubling collection of personal data from tens of millions of Americans by the firm Cambridge Analytica.