- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A federal probe prompted by Facebook’s ties to disgraced data firm Cambridge Analytica has widened to include the FBI and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The FBI and SEC have begun investigating both the social network and recently shuttered data firm after a probe initiated earlier this year by the Federal Trade Commission broadened to focus on matters beyond Cambridge Analytica obtaining the personal information of roughly 71 million Facebook users, the report said.

Federal investigators are examining what Facebook said publicly about its arrangement with Cambridge Analytica and whether those claims were correct, The Post reported, citing five people familiar with the matter.

Officials have taken a particular interest in Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and begun scrutinizing comments he made on Capitol Hill in while testifying about the data scandal in April, The Post reported.

“We are cooperating with officials in the U.S., U.K. and beyond. We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged to continue our assistance as their work continues,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

The Justice Department, FBI, SEC and FTC declined to comment, the Post reported. CNN has since confirmed elements of The Post’s report.

“The cat’s out of the bag it seems,” said Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower who disclosed details about the data scandal to reporters who broke the story in March.

“I can confirm I have spoken to all four U.S. federal investigations into Facebook. It appears Mark Zuckerburg has not been fully candid to Congress and I will make sure the U.S. authorities have complete information,” he said through his Twitter account.

Cambridge Analytica quietly collected the personal information of millions of Facebook users through “ThisIsYourDigitalLife,” an online quiz developed by data scientist Aleksandr Kogan, then used that data during its work for clients, including President Trump’s 2016 election campaign, it emerged in March.

The FTC subsequently announced that regulators would investigate Facebook for potential privacy violations, but the Post article marked the first credible report to put the social network at the center of FBI and SEC investigations over the scandal.

The SEC is investigating the timing of Facebook’s disclosure to investors, CNN reported. Attorneys for a Facebook shareholder previously filed a class-action complaint against the company in March that alleged the social network misled investors about its privacy policies and practices.

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