FTC confirms Facebook investigation on privacy

NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook’s privacy practices following a week of privacy scandals including whether the company engaged in “unfair acts” that cause “substantial injury” to consumers.

Facebook’s stock, which already took a big hit last week, plunged as a result.

Facebook said in a statement on Monday that the company remains “strongly committed” to protecting people’s information and that it welcomes the opportunity to answer the FTC’s questions.

News outlets have reported on the FTC investigation last week, but the FTC hadn’t confirmed it until Monday. Facebook reached a settlement with the FTC in 2011 offering privacy assurances.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is promising to do a better job protecting user data following reports that a political consultant misused the personal information of millions of the company’s subscribers. The fact is, European regulators are already forcing him to do so.

A similar data breach in the future could make Facebook liable for fines of more than $1.6 billion under the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation, which will be enforced from May 25. The rules, approved two years ago, also make it easier for consumers to give and withdraw consent for the use of their data and apply to any company that uses the data of EU residents, no matter where it is based.

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