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March 26, 2018

Pa. attorney general demands answers from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg

Josh Shapiro wants clarity on the social media platform's privacy protections

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is demanding Facebook address an array of privacy concerns as the social media platform continues to face criticism over access to its users' data.

Shapiro helped spearhead a bipartisan letter signed by 37 state attorneys general nationwide to question Facebook's business practices and privacy protections.

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Facebook reportedly allowed third parties to harvest the personal data of users' "friends" without their friends' knowledge or authorization. 

Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that did work for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, obtained the private data of 50 million Facebook users from a third party. The firm reportedly used that information to target voters. 

The letter asks CEO Mark Zuckerberg whether Facebook monitored what the developers did with the data, and what type of control it had over the data collected. 

It also asks Zuckerberg whether Facebook had protective safeguards in place and whether its terms of service were "clear and understandable."

"Even with the changes Facebook has made in recent years, many users still do not know their profile – and personal data – is available to third-party vendors," the attorneys general wrote. "Facebook has made promises about users' privacy in the past, and we need to know that users can trust Facebook."

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Delaware Attorney General Matthew P. Denn  signed the letter.