Facebook’s troubles regarding users’ privacy and indiscriminate data collection are not going to get over anytime soon, as a bombshell report from the Wall Street Journal has now revealed that the company collects users’ data from other apps in their phones. However, that is not the biggest worry for the social media giant. In a new development, Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York has ordered two agencies of the state to launch a probe into Facebook’s conduct regarding the affair. According to the report in the Journal, Facebook apparently gets access to extremely private data that may even include health care information of individual users.
The report is quite alarming. It states that as soon as a user accesses any other app and puts in his personal information, the data is collected by Facebook. The New York Governor then directed the New York State Department and the Department of Financial Services to launch a probe into Facebook’s conduct. It remains to be seen if this probe eventually leads to a larger federal probe.
Additionally, if by the end of this probe, the agencies find Facebook to be guilty of this malpractice then it could potentially have wide-ranging consequences for the social media company. They have been beset with issues related to users’ privacy over the past two years and had to go through a Congressional hearing last year. This is another setback for the company as it readies to fight a bunch of lawsuits related to inappropriate usage of user information. It has also emerged that Facebook had shared information about as many as 87 million of its users with the now infamous political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
The Wall Street Journal report states that the user might not even need to have a Facebook account or even be signed in to the app for the personal information to be gobbled up by the company. In his statement, Cuomo condemned Facebook and in fact, went so far as to urge federal agencies to get involved. The social media company released a statement in which it agreed to cooperate with the probe. However, Facebook also stated that they did not access any data on their own. The data is actually sent to them by other apps. In their statement, the company said, “As (the WSJ) reported, we require the other app developers to be clear with their users about the information they are sharing with us, and we prohibit app developers from sending us sensitive data. We also take steps to detect and remove data that should not be shared with us.”