Markey Wants Investigation Into Facebook/Cambridge 'Bombshell'

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has called for a congressional hearing on Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook user data (from some 50 million users) to build profiles it then sold to political campaigns.

Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica for violating its policies, saying the company got the information from a third party, which it should not have been able to do.

Markey pointed out that Cambridge Analytica had worked with the Trump campaign.

Analytica reportedly used the information with most users having not given their permission for it to have been shared by with a third party.

Markey said that "in light of these allegations, and the ongoing Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consent decree that requires Facebook to obtain explicit permission before sharing data about its users, the Committee should move quickly to hold a hearing on this incident, which has allegedly violated the privacy of tens of millions of Americans."

Facebook says it is looking into reports that Cambridge did not delete the collected information as promised, but disputed the suggestion from some quarters that it was a data breach, though it said that a user's sharing of the information with Cambridge was a violation of its policies, which is why it suspended both that user and Cambridge, as well as the reports that the information had not been subsequently deleted.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.