Published: March 2018

Personal data of 50M Facebook users wrongly harvested for use in 2016 election

Consumer and privacy advocates expressed outrage at the news that Facebook shared the personal user information of 50 million with a data-mining firm that later when on to work for President Trump’s 2016 campaign. Consumer Action joined privacy and consumer advocates in a March 20 letter urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the social media giant may have violated a landmark privacy consent decree from 2011, stating that it would not change access to Facebook users’ data without users’ consent.

The personal data of 50 million Facebook users was accessed by a data analysis firm, Cambridge Analytica, under the guise of academic research. It was later discovered that the data may have been used in an effort to affect voters’ decisions in 2016. Consumer and privacy advocates penned a letter to the Federal Trade Commission insisting that the agency investigate to see if Facebook knowingly allowed third parties to violate users’ privacy and, if in doing so, breached a 2011 consent decree stating that it would not change access to users’ data without notice and consent to share beyond the account privacy settings they've currently set. 

Lead Organization

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

Other Organizations

Electronic Privacy Information Center |Access Now | Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood | Center for Digital Democracy | Constitutional Alliance | Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America | Consumer Watchdog | Defending Rights & Dissent | Government Accountability Project | Patient Privacy Rights | Privacy Rights Clearinghouse | Privacy Times Public Citizen | U.S. PIRG | World Privacy Forum

More Information

Click here to read the letter in full.

For more information, please visit EPIC.

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