Attorney General Tim Fox Demands Answers from Facebook

Attorney General Tim Fox Demands Answers from Facebook

HELENA – Today, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox joined a bipartisan coalition of 37 state and territory attorneys general, demanding answers from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the company’s business practices and privacy protections.

“Consumers everywhere deserve answers in light of recent revelations regarding the unauthorized harvesting of data from tens of millions of Facebook profiles,” said Montana Attorney General Tim Fox.  “I’m pleased to be one of five lead Attorneys General in a multi-state, bipartisan inquiry demanding answers from Facebook and ensuring its users can control the privacy of their accounts.”

As the attorneys general write in a letter to Mr. 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 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 impacted?
  • 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.”Attorney General Fox led the coalition, along with Attorneys General Josh Shapiro (D-PA), Ellen Rosenblum (D-OR), Marty Jackley (R-SD) and George Jepsen (D-CT).To view a copy of the letter, please click here.