Federal Trade Commission Audit Cleared Facebook’s Privacy Policies In 2017

By Nitish Singh / April 20, 2018

An investigation against Facebook in 2011 required the social media company to be audited by the Federal Trade Commission every two years. The latest external audit was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 2017. The company failed to identify the unauthorized data collection that was ongoing when submitting the Freedom of Information Act request to the FTC.

According to PwC, Facebook’s privacy controls seemed efficient to the auditors and offered reasonable levels of assurance when it comes to privacy protection. The audit was completed on February 11, 2017, based on the Facebook Privacy Program under the Management’s Assertion. A copy of the audit is still available online.

Facebook Scandal

Image Courtesy of ABC News

However, Facebook has been identified to have both internal and external material risks that could result in any of Facebook’s third-party apps collecting data without explicit permission from users. There are significant risks to usage and disclosure of private information, and Cambridge Analytica is one of the largest offenders on the social media platform and was caught exposing data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

The thoroughness of the audits conducted by PwC are questionable, and Senator Richard Blumenthal wants the FTC to reconsider their stance towards Facebook. The Senator wants stronger oversight to make sure user information is protected and not exploited by any means.

Engadget reports when Facebook was asked why the social media website did not reveal the Cambridge Analytica issue to PricewaterhouseCoopers, they responded stating that they did not deem it to be a privacy violation on Facebook’s part. Facebook Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman claimed Cambridge Analytica requested the data to be used in a certain way, and in their systems. Later, they went on to sell the data which Facebook had no control over.

Facebook made a statement following the scandal announcing that the website is dedicated to protecting people’s information. The social media company made it clear that it would like to respond to the Federal Trade Commission with any questions the organization may have about the scandal.

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