According to the New York Times, Facebook allowed Microsoft's Bing search engine to see the names of nearly all Facebook users' friends without consent and gave Netflix and Spotify access to Facebook users' private messages.
Facebook is "reviewing the complaint", a company spokesperson said in a statement, and looks "forward to continuing our discussions with attorneys general in DC and elsewhere". On Friday, for example, the company admitted that some users' photos may have been improperly accessed by third-party apps.
Responding to the New York Time's allegations, Facebook said its data sharing agreements with other companies were necessary to run various services and required explicit permission from its users.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said on Tuesday the social media giant is committed to protecting the civil rights of its users, following a report that found Russian-backed actors largely targeted black users' data in hopes of influencing the 2016 presidential election.
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It is well known that Facebook makes its money through our personal data and we have realised just how bad that has been.The Times claimed that Facebook had allowed companies access to users' private messages, a severe breach of trust. Facebook has already been battered this year in the markets as the data privacy scandal unfolded.
Facebook has repeatedly assured lawmakers, regulators and the media that it is battening down its hatches in an effort to do a better job preventing unauthorized access to the pictures, thoughts and other personal information that its almost 2.3 billion users typically intend to share only with friends and family. In total, the effort allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest insights on more than 87 million users around the world, including 71 million Americans, Facebook previously revealed. The groups also called for Facebook to fire Joel Kaplan, Facebook's VP of global public policy, who has drawn scrutiny over his links to conservative figures, including Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
As well as this lawsuit, Facebook is being probed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice.
"We take this incredibly seriously", Sandberg said.
That violated the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act, according to a statement from Attorney General Karl A. Racine. Lawmakers have been threatening for some time to impose new regulations to rein in Facebook, and the news report only seemed to further the case.