Gov. Cuomo Orders Investigation into Facebook Practices Related to Users’ Data

Close-up of a Businessman's Hand Showing His Smart Phone Isolated Over White Background

Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered two New York’s Department of State and Department of Finance and other agencies to investigate Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) particularly its practices related to users’ data.

The governor’s directive comes after the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is receiving users’ sensitive personal information including their weight, blood pressure, menstrual cycle, etc. from several apps. The social media giant reportedly did not obtain any consent from users to obtain their data.

Cuomo thinks Facebook is possibly violating consumers’ privacy and trust

In a statement Friday, Cuomo expressed concern that Facebook may be invading consumer’s privacy and violating their trust.

According to the governor, “The recent report that Facebook is accessing far more personal information of smartphone users that previously reported, including health and other sensitive data, represents an invasion of privacy and beach of consumer trust.

Cuomo also stressed that such practice is a clear violation of the social media giant’s own business terms. It “is an abuse of privacy,” he said.

Additionally, the governor said, “New Yorkers deserve to know their information is safe, and we must hold internet companies—no matter how big—responsible for upholding the law and protecting the information of smartphone users.”

Furthermore, Cuomo called on federal regulator to “step up and help” the state of New York stopped the invasion of consumers’ privacy and protect the rights of consumers.

Industry standard practice

In response to the WSJ report and the governor’s order, a Facebook spokesperson to The Hill that the company will instruct some apps to stop sharing sensitive information. The spokesperson stated that some of the cases exposed by the newspaper violated the social media giant’s term of service.

In addition, the spokesperson explained, “Sharing information across apps on your iPhone or Android device is how mobile advertising works and is industry standard practice.”

“The issue is how apps use information for online advertising. We require 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.”