FBI, FTC, SEC investigating Facebook data scandal

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(CBS MoneyWatch) — Several federal agencies are investigating Facebook’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal that revealed personal information on up to 87 million users to an election data company.  

A Facebook representative confirmed the investigations after the Washington Post broke the story Monday night. 

“We are cooperating with officials in the U.S., U.K. and beyond. We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged to continue our assistance as their work continues,” the Facebook spokesperson said in an email.

The social media giant has been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission since March over possible privacy violations. Now, two other agencies—the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission — are also investigating the public traded company and its role in a privacy scandal that revealed data on up to 87 million users without their knowledge or consent.

Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower who first came forward about Cambridge Analytica in March, tweeted that he had spoken to investigators in all the probes.

“The cat’s out of the bag it seems. I can confirm I have spoken to all four U.S. federal investigations into Facebook. It appears Mark Zuckerburg has not been fully candid to Congress and I will make sure the U.S. authorities have complete information,” he said.

(The Post reported there were four investigations ongoing by the SEC, FTC, FBI and DOJ. However, the FBI is part of the Justice Department and would not be conducting an investigation outside the DOJ’s purview, CBS News’ Paula Reid reports.)

Before it shut down in May, Cambridge Analytica boasted that it could use psychological profiling to predict Facebook users’ behavior and influence their vote. The firm was hired by the presidential campaigns of Ted Cruz and now-President Donald Trump, and received financial backing from longtime Republican donors Robert and Rebekah Mercer. Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was on the board. It is now in bankruptcy proceedings.

Facebook’s stock was trading down 1.7 percent, at $193.97 a share, late Tuesday morning.

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