Facebook Faces Mounting Pressure As Probes From The US And UK Escalate

Thibault CamusAP Images

Facebook’s decision to suspend the data firm on Friday was just the beginning. Lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic on Sunday raised concerns over the unauthorized access of information. British lawmakers are seeking a warrant to investigate the offices of Cambridge Analytica and determine if its still in possession of data belonging to 50 million users, according to Reuters.

The news of a British lawmaker requesting legal authorization to search the data firm was reported by Channel 4 in Britain. Channel 4 is a British public television network and announced the latest developments.

“The move came as U.S. and European lawmakers demanded an explanation of how the consulting firm, which worked on President Donald Trump’s election campaign, gained access to the data. In the U.S., members of Congress called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify about Facebook’s actions. “

The news of the suspension by Facebook was not enough. Following media reports, the data leak has prompted lawmakers to get involved. Within the above report, Facebook on Monday confirmed it recruited a third party, Stoz Friedberg, to determine whether or not the Cambridge group was still in possession of the data.

“Auditors from Stroz Friedberg were on site at Cambridge Analytica’s London office this evening,” the company said in a statement late Monday. “At the request of the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, which has announced it is pursuing a warrant to conduct its own on-site investigation, the Stroz Friedberg auditors stood down.”

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This series of news involving Facebook have put a dent in their stock performance. Shares were down 7 percent. According to the New York Times, the news involving Facebook would knock $23.8 billion off in market value for the social network.

As reported by the Times, Facebook has already faced scrutiny and calls for new regulations from the U.S Congress are one hurdle. In addition, with Britain now involved in this investigation, investors are starting to worry about the possibility of new regulation which could ultimately impact the company’s lucrative advertising system.

A University of Maryland law Professor, Frank Pasquale, said more repercussions could follow the social network. Furthermore, the fact that information from millions of Facebook users was compromised, it may call into question on company’s data practices.

Coincidentally, there is news of the departure of a Facebook executive. The Chief Information Officer, Alex Stamos, plans to leave Facebook by August. Apparently, Stamos’ position of wanting increased disclosure and transparency over the Russian meddling was met with resistance within the company.

“Mr. Stamos, who plans to leave Facebook by August, had advocated more disclosure around Russian interference of the platform and some restructuring to better address the issues, but was met with resistance by colleagues, said the current and former employees. In December, Mr. Stamos’s day-to-day responsibilities were reassigned to others, they said.”

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