Facebook Inc. (FB) shares fell 1.45% in pre-market trading, following a report that multiple federal agencies are now investigating the social network’s role in the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal.
The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, said that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have joined the Department of Justice (DOJ) in investigating how Facebook and Cambridge harvested the personal information of 71 million Americans.
According to the sources, federal investigators are seeking to establish what Facebook knew three years ago when it first learned that user data was being accessed by Cambridge Analytica to create voter profiles and determine why the company did not disclose this information to its users and investors. (See also: Facebook Shares Fall After Data Leak Bombshell.)
Investigators are also keen to discover if there are any discrepancies in recent accounts and are believed to be scrutinizing CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues’ Capitol Hill testimonies as part of the expanded probe.
Facebook confirmed that it is in discussions with the federal agencies and sharing information when requested.
“We are cooperating with officials in the U.S., U.K. and beyond," Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld said, according to The Washington Post. "We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged to continue our assistance as their work continues.”
David Vladeck, a Georgetown Law professor and former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, told The Post that reports of an expanded investigation from several federal agencies does not bode well for Facebook and raises “all sorts of red flags.”
“The fact that the Justice Department, the FBI, the SEC and the FTC are sitting down together does raise serious concerns,” Vladeck said.
Facebook has audited thousands of its apps, suspended 200 of them and restricted access to data for all developers using its website and its sister service, Instagram, since the Cambridge Analytica scandal was revealed in March. (See also: Facebook Gave Data to 61 Firms Despite Assurances.)