Facebook is facing yet another privacy investigation, this time by the New York Attorney General, who said Thursday that her office is looking into the social media company apparently getting a hold of the e-mail contact databases of 1.5 million users. The announcement comes just a day after Facebook disclosed in its first-quarter earnings for 2019 that it expects to spend between $3 billion to $5 billion in connection with an ongoing Federal Trade Commission investigation of its handling of users’ data.
NY AG Letitia James said Thursday that the office is investigating how the company allegedly collected 1.5 million users’ e-mail contact databases through a step on its site that asked new users to verify their e-mail passwords. Potentially hundreds of millions of people could have had their personal information compromised through the apparent “unauthorized collection,” the NY AG’s office said in a statement.
“It is time Facebook is held accountable for how it handles consumers’ personal information,” NY AG James said in the statement. “Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumers’ information while at the same time profiting from mining that data.”
The NY AG’s investigation follows a report earlier this month by Business Insider that Facebook had uploaded the e-mail contacts of 1.5 million users. Facebook reportedly told Business Insider at the time that the contact information had been uploaded to the web site and could be used for purposes including improving its ad targeting, according to its report.
“We’re in touch with the New York State attorney general’s office and are responding to their questions on this matter,” a representative for Facebook said in a statement Thursday.
Last year, the FTC announced an investigation into Facebook after reports that a data breach had compromised the information of 50 million users, and that voting research firm Cambridge Analytica also got a hold of Facebook users’ information.