Social media shares slide

Social media shares slide

By David McLaughlin

Shares in Facebook continued their sharp slide, extending their dip this week to around 10% that has cost CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg around $10bn (€8bn) in paper losses.

It comes as the social media giant — now valued at around $478.25bn — is drawing scrutiny from the main US privacy watchdog and half a dozen powerful congressional committees over how the personal data of 50m users was obtained by a UK data analytics firm that helped elect President Donald Trump.

The US Federal Trade Commission is probing whether Facebook violated terms of a 2011 consent decree over its handling of personal user data that was transferred to Cambridge Analytica without users’ knowledge. The FTC will be sending a letter to the company, accord to a source.

Facebook said it would conduct staff-level briefings today. That includes House and Senate Judiciary Committees, as well as the commerce and intelligence committees of both chambers.

The FTC is the lead US agency for enforcing companies’ adherence to their own privacy policies and could fine the company into the millions of dollars if it finds Facebook violated a 2011 consent decree.

“The FTC should give this situation a thorough look to determine if there’s a decree violation,” Gene Kimmelman, a former chief counsel of the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, said in a statement. “The FTC should use all of its power to prevent this from ever happening again,” he said.

In an earlier statement Cambridge Analytica said it “strongly” denied “false allegations” in the media and said the Facebook data at the centre of the scandal was not used as part of services provided to the Trump campaign.

Under the terms of the 2011 settlement, Facebook agreed to get user consent for certain changes to privacy settings as part of its resolution of federal charges that it deceived consumers and forced them to share more personal information than they intended. That complaint arose after the company changed some user settings without notifying its customers, according to an FTC statement at the time.

“The FTC takes the allegations that the data of millions of people were used without proper authorisation very seriously,” FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, a Democrat, said.

- Bloomberg and Irish Examiner

More in this Section

Johnson insists EU free trade agreement can be struck amid no-deal Brexit fearsJohnson insists EU free trade agreement can be struck amid no-deal Brexit fears

IDA Ireland: Era of optimism with growth evident in all sectorsIDA Ireland: Era of optimism with growth evident in all sectors

Renault warning of slowing sales haunts rest of European car industryRenault warning of slowing sales haunts rest of European car industry

Flying Tiger retail stores back in the blackFlying Tiger retail stores back in the black


Lifestyle

Sunday Lunch costs €45 per person and includes several set courses but with a choice of mains.Restaurant Review: Bastible Restaurant, Dublin

It never ceases to stop me in my tracks when I hear my husband intone to our children one of the oft overused phrases from my stockpile of, “Can you just not?” categories.Lindsay Woods: If my children feel I’m doing it wrong then I must be doing it right

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness — John Keats had it right about autumn.Eyes on the pies: Eight apple tarts put to the taste test

Simone Rocha invited ieStyle into her London studio for an exclusive look behind the scenes as she put the finishing touches to her acclaimed collection for Fashion Week. Rachel Marie Walsh reportsBeing Simone Rocha: An exclusive look behind the scenes

More From The Irish Examiner