Facebook has had a hard week, and New York’s Attorney General isn’t looking to make it any easier.
AG Letitia James has opened an investigation into Facebook over the company’s email contact collection. Facebook uploaded more than 1.5 million users’ contacts without their consent, marking yet another data scandal for the company.
“Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumer information while at the same time profiting from mining that data,” AG James said in a Twitter statement.
BREAKING: We're launching an investigation into Facebook's unauthorized collection of 1.5M of their users’ email contact databases.
Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumer information while at the same time profiting from mining that data.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) April 25, 2019
If you’ve been under a rock for the last year, Facebook has been on a joyride collecting, distributing and mishandling its users’ data. Just this year, the company admitted to storing millions of users’ passwords in plain text and that its third-party developers left hundreds of millions of user records on publicly visible cloud servers.
“Facebook claims 1.5M contact databases were harvested by its email verification process, but the total number of people whose information was improperly obtained may be hundreds of millions,” James said.
This is all in addition to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where Facebook exposed data of up to 87 million users. The scandal caught the attention of U.S. and U.K. lawmakers, and since then, more legislation protecting users’ data has been developed.
Facebook is also gearing up for a major fine from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which the company expects to be between $3 billion and $5 billion. Apparently, $3 billion is chump change to Facebook, and the fine isn’t expected to put a huge dent in the company’s operations.
James has been making strides since becoming the city’s first Black woman to hold her position, and she’s had her sights set on tackling the rising issues with social media.
Earlier this year, she announced a settlement over the selling of fake followers and likes by Devumi, a platform that used deceptive and fraudulent practices in creating a follower base for its clients.
“It’s time Facebook be held accountable for how it handles consumers’ personal info,” James said.
Now, with Facebook in her crosshairs, James may have to make an example out of the company as well.