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After Facebook, now Google, Twitter to face privacy probe

Sheetal Sukhija - Monday 16th April, 2018

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - After Facebook co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg spent almost the whole of last week answering questions over privacy by Senators on the Capitol Hill - experts believe that it might now be time for Google and Twitter to get in line.

Last week, Zuckerberg was questioned on the company’s data collection and management practices, as well as their relation to the industry as a whole.

At the end of the probe, in a statement, Democratic Senator Mark Warner from Virginia referred to the existing state of data protection practices in the sector as “a huge issue” that both Twitter and “Google and YouTube as a single entity need to address.”

After grilling Facebook on the company’s data collection and management practices, now experts believe that lawmakers might be gearing to speak with the other dominant tech giants. 

This, they have pointed out, is because it is more than likely that any regulations that may stem from the Cambridge Analytica scandal will apply to the Silicon Valley as a whole.

In November, Alphabet’s subsidiary, Twitter, and Facebook already met with lawmakers when they discussed their efforts to combat online misinformation campaigns.

This was due to the revelations made that certain foreign actors from Russia ran a widespread misinformation campaign during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

To an extent, what links Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia is that the political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica is being accused of buying improperly harvested data of some 87 million Facebook users in order to support the Trump campaign during the last election. 

The firm has boasted of having worked for Trump’s election campaign, but has repeatedly dismissed using the data obtained in 2014 through a personality quiz that asked users to log into it with their Facebook accounts and has already agreed to a forensic audit of its servers meant to prove it deleted the controversially mined data in 2015 after Facebook asked it to do so.

Meanwhile, experts claim that considering that Google’s business model is relatively similar to that of Facebook - which offers largely free services to consumers, collects their data, then uses it for the purposes of targeting advertisements - industry watchers are already speculating about Google’s role in the privacy probe.

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