Facebook misled lawmakers over data breach: UK lawmaker

Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg called to testify before parliament
LONDON: A U.K. lawmaker has accused Facebook and data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica of misleading the members of the parliament in a testimony, after revelations of mass data breach.
Damien Collins, chairman of the U.K.’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, has called on Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the committee.
“I will be writing to Mark Zuckerberg asking that either he, or another senior executive from the company, appear to give evidence in front of the Committee as part our inquiry,” Collins said in a statement.
“It is not acceptable that they have previously sent witnesses who seek to avoid asking difficult questions by claiming not to know the answers. This also creates a false reassurance that Facebook’s stated policies are always robust and effectively policed,” Collins added.
Earlier this week whistleblower Chris Wylie, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, revealed that 50 million Facebook profiles had been harvested by the data analytics firm to influence political opinion both in the U.S. and the U.K.
Details reveal how Cambridge Analytica accessed private information from these Facebook profiles, including private messages, status updates and likes.
Facebook has since rejected claims that this was a data breach and that they have suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platforms.
“The claim that this is a data breach is completely false. People knowingly provided their information, no systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked,” Facebook said in a press release.
“We are suspending Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), including their political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, from Facebook,” it added.
Cambridge Analytica also rejected the claim that the firm obtains private information from Facebook profiles and has argued that their operations have always been in line with Facebook’s policies and online standards.
“Cambridge Analytica’s Commercial and Political divisions use social media platforms for outward marketing, delivering data-led and creative content to targeted audiences. They do not use or hold data from Facebook profiles,” the firm said in a press statement.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has yet to respond to calls for him to testify at the parliamentary select committee.-AA

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