Shares in social media giant Facebook have plummeted dramatically, wiping some $37 billion (€30bn) off its value, as it faces questions from about its privacy rules.
The social network is under fire after reports emerged on how Cambridge Analytica – a a company that offers services to businesses and political parties who want to “change audience behaviour” – acquired and used Facebook’s customer information. Many believe the company played a key role is Donald Trump winning the US presidency.
The UK data protection body is reportedly seeking a warrant to search the firm’s offices.
Facebook shares ended trading on March 18th some 6.7 per cent lower at $172.56, wiping around $37 billion off the social network’s market value.
The company is accused of failing to properly inform users that their profile information may have been obtained and kept by Cambridge Analytica.
Asked about the reports, a spokesman for PM Theresa May said: “The allegations are clearly very concerning. It is essential that people can have confidence that their personal data will be protected and used in an appropriate way.”
US senators Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, and John Kennedy, a Republican, have also called for a hearing about data security and said they want to question Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, and the heads of other tech companies.
“While Facebook has pledged to enforce its policies to protect people’s information, questions remain as to whether those policies are sufficient and whether Congress should take action to protect people’s private information,” they wrote in the letter. “The lack of oversight on how data is stored and how political advertisements are sold raises concerns about the integrity of American elections as well as privacy rights.”
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