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Australia investigating Facebook over data scandal

By Sara Shayanian
Australia investigating Facebook over data scandal
Australian officials announced Thursday they have opened an investigation of social media company Facebook over privacy concerns it sold user data to Cambridge Analytica. File Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE

April 5 (UPI) -- Australia said Thursday it's investigating Facebook over the site's selling user data to research firm Cambridge Analytica.

The investigation will look into whether Facebook breached Australian privacy laws and whether it "adequately notified" users their information had been sold, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner said Thursday.

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"I have opened a formal investigation into Facebook, following confirmation from Facebook that the information of over 300,000 Australian users may have been acquired and used without authorization,"Australian commissioner Angelene Falk said.

"Given the global nature of this matter, the OAIC will confer with regulatory authorities internationally."

RELATED Facebook: 87M affected by Cambridge Analytica breach

Facebook said Wednesday the information of as many as 87 million people may have been improperly shared with the British research firm.

Cambridge Analytica is accused of using some of the information to post targeted political ads for President Donald Trump.

"We do not know precisely what data the app shared with Cambridge Analytica or exactly how many people were impacted," Facebook said in a blog post.

RELATED Facebook's Zuckerberg to testify in House next week amid data row

RELATED Facebook: 87M affected by Cambridge Analytica breach

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify in the House next week to answer questions about data security.

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Zuckerberg will testify April 11 -- and, incidentally, will face questioning from lawmakers who in the past received substantial campaign contributions from Facebook sources. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will question Zuckerberg, received the largest contributions, USA Today reported.

Since 2007, members of the committee -- whose jurisdiction gives it regulatory power over Internet companies -- received nearly $381,000 in contributions tied to Facebook.

RELATED Facebook changes privacy settings amid data scandal

Amid the privacy scandal, Zuckerberg said Wednesday that mistakes are inevitable when running a company as large as Facebook.

"What I think people should hold us accountable for is if we are learning from our mistakes," he said.

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