Facebook CEO Zuckerberg, EU Official Discuss Privacy Protection

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An investigation against Facebook in 2011 required the social media company to be audited by the Federal Trade Commission every two years. The formerly obscure big-data company has since become infamous due to their involvement with Facebook, the Trump campaign, and with severe abuses of consumer privacy.

The audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers is posted on the FTC's website, though it is heavily redacted.

The audit covered the period from February 12th, 2015 to February 11th, 2017.

"We remain strongly committed to protecting people's information, said Rob Sherman, Facebook's deputy chief privacy officer, in a statement". "The data crisis around the world is letting us raise ethical questions about how we start changing that".

The fact that PwC found no issues raised red flags for privacy advocates. Sixty-six per cent view it as a media company that prioritises some types of content over others, with 55% believing there to be evidence of political bias and censorship in its results - a view that's more prevalent (70%) among Republicans.

Scott Howe told Reuters in a phone interview that Acxiom, among the largest USA data brokers, welcomed change and supported regulation of some kind, although he stopped short of endorsing a specific plan or greater powers for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the primary us regulator of data privacy. The survey polled 2,500 Americans after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced Congress last week.

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Any violations of the 2011 agreement could subject Facebook to fines of $41,484 per violation per user per day. Considering the number of Facebook users in the United States, the company could lose billions of dollars. Facebook also plans to update their site's terms of service and data policy to better protect users from overreach by third-party apps and to better explain how user data is used by Facebook. While Facebook did have controls in place that allowed people to restrict such access, they are found buried in the site's settings and are hard to find.

Last week, Zuckerberg addressed the FTC consent decree during a House hearing.

"In our opinion, Facebook's privacy controls were operating with sufficient effectiveness to provide reasonable assurance to protect the privacy of covered information", says PwC in the report.

According to CNBC, Facebook was also suspending data analytics firm CubeYou to investigate how it was collecting information through quizzes.

However, Facebook's lack of transparency, reliability and accountability in these two situations also substantiates the increasing doubt regarding the fairness of the 2016 presidential election.

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