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March 26, 2018

Attorney General Tom Miller Joins Bipartisan Coalition of State AGs in Demanding Answers from Facebook

Bipartisan Group of 37 State Attorneys General Ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for Information on Facebook's Business Practices and Privacy Protections

(DES MOINES, Iowa) Today, Attorney General Tom Miller joined a bipartisan coalition of 37 state and territory attorneys general in sending a letter demanding answers from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the company’s business practices and privacy protections.

“I am concerned about Facebook’s privacy policies and how they may have harmed Iowans,” Attorney General Miller said.

As the attorneys general write in their letter to CEO Zuckerberg, news reports indicate the data of at least 50 million Facebook profiles may have been misused by third-party software developers. Facebook’s policies allowed developers to access the personal data of “friends” of people who used certain applications – without the knowledge or consent of these users.

The letter to Zuckerberg, initiated by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and joined by a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general, raises a series of questions about the social networking site’s policies and practices, including:

  • Were those terms of service clear and understandable?
  • How did Facebook monitor what these developers did with all the data that they collected?
  • What type of controls did Facebook have over the data given to developers?
  • Did Facebook have protective safeguards in place, including audits, to ensure developers were not misusing the Facebook user’s data?
  • How many users in the states of the signatory attorneys general were affected?
  • When did Facebook learn of this breach of privacy protections?
  • During this timeframe, what other third party “research” applications were also able to access the data of unsuspecting Facebook users?

The attorneys general write in the letter: “Facebook apparently contends that this incident of harvesting tens of millions of profiles was not the result of a technical data breach; however, the reports allege that Facebook gave away the personal data of users who never authorized these developers to obtain it, and relied on terms of service and settings that were confusing and perhaps misleading to its users.”

To view a copy of today’s letter and the full list of signatories, please click here.

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