Facebook conducting review over report user data misused by Trump political consultant
The company said in a statement that it was trying to determine the accuracy of allegations that a researcher gave Cambridge Analytica, a data company known for its work on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, inappropriately obtained Facebook user data starting in 2014.
In the statement from Paul Grewal, a Facebook vice-president and deputy general counsel, the company said it was committed to "vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people's information."
The Times and London's Observer, which cited former Cambridge Analytica employees, associates and documents, said the data breach was one of the largest in the history of Facebook Inc.
Facebook on Friday said it was suspending Cambridge Analytica after finding data privacy policies had been violated.
The Observer said Cambridge Analytica used the data to build a software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.
The paper quoted Cambridge Analytica whistleblower and Canadian data analytics expert Christopher Wylie, who worked with an academic at Cambridge University to obtain the data, as saying the system could profile individual voters to target them with personalized political advertisements.
'This is a big deal'
Republican Senator Marco Rubio said he believed some internet companies have grown too fast to digest their responsibilities and obligations.
"So we'll learn more about this in the days to come. But yeah, I'm disturbed by that," Rubio told NBC's Meet the Press.
Senator Rand Paul was asked whether people can trust companies like Facebook in the wake of the report about Cambridge Analytica taking data.
"People have to look into it. Whether or not it broke the law, absolutely, the privacy of the American consumer, the American individual, should be protected," Paul said on CNN.
Cambridge Analytica and the professor have denied violating Facebook's terms, according to media reports. The scrutiny presented a new threat to Facebook's reputation, which was already under attack over Russians' use of Facebook tools to sway American voters before and after the 2016 U.S. elections.
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said he had a lot of questions about the data taken from Facebook, including who knew it had been taken and whether it is still being used.
Court action against anyone accountable at Cambridge Analytica and Facebook by state AG’s as well as federal law enforcement now necessary - seeking aggressive redress in dollars and other justice.— @SenBlumenthal
"This is a big deal, when you have that amount of data, and the privacy violations there are significant," he told CNN's State of the Union program. "So the question is who knew it and when did they know it, how long did this go on and what happens to that data now."
Facebook faced new calls for regulation from Democratic senators on Saturday and was hit with questions about personal data safeguards, but it was unclear whether the Republican-controlled Congress would act. U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said more investigation was needed.
"We need to find out what we can about the misappropriation of the privacy, the private information of tens of millions of Americans," he said Sunday on ABC's This Week. Also on ABC, Sen. James Lankford, a Republican, said it was not known whether the incident was connected to the Trump campaign.