March was another terrible month for Facebook. First, The New York Times reported a federal criminal investigation of Facebook’s contract with equipment manufacturers deals that provided them with access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of users. Then, a security analyst revealed that Facebook stored unencrypted user passwords on company servers, giving Facebook employees access to this personal data. Later, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed a lawsuit against Facebook for “allowing advertisers to limit housing ads based on race, gender and other characteristics,” a violation of the Fair Housing Act. The HUD suit was filed days after Facebook settled with CWA and other plaintiffs in another case and agreed to sweeping reforms to curb its discriminatory ad targeting practices. These recent revelations add to investigations by three federal agencies and the DOJ over Facebook’s data sharing practices with the Cambridge Analytica.
These practices require strong Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversight and congressional action to protect consumer data privacy. The Freedom From Facebook coalition urges regulators to impose strong privacy rules and break up Facebook by spinning off Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger.
Click HERE to learn more about Freedom from Facebook.
Facebook data deals under criminal investigation (CNBC TV18, Mar. 14, 2019)
Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain Text for Years ( Krebs on Security, Mar. 19, 2019)
Top Communications Union Joins Group Pushing for Facebook’s Breakup (Bloomberg, Jul. 9, 2018)
HUD Sues Facebook Over Housing Discrimination and Says the Company’s Algorithms Have Made the Problem Worse (ProPublica, Mar. 28, 2019)
Facebook agrees to sweeping reforms to curb discriminatory ad targeting practices (Speed Matters, Mar. 25, 2019)