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The FTC probe comes after reports that Cambridge Analytica, a firm that worked for President Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign, harvested data on more than 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge.
“The FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook,” the agency said in a statement on Monday. “Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.”
The Washington Post reports that the probe could result in a “massive fine” for Facebook. In the wake of the news, Facebook’s stock slid six percent, continuing its downward spiral since the Cambridge Analytica news broke.
The company said it was “strongly committed” to protecting user information and it would answer questions from the FTC, according to the Associated Press.
Cambridge Analytica reportedly obtained the data by working with a researcher who created an app on the website called “thisisyourdigitallife.” The app went one step further and had users grant the app access to information on their friends.
The FTC’s probe comes on the heels of Congress calling for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
In a letter sent to Zuckerberg last week, lawmakers said the reports of data harvesting “raise many concerns” about what information app developers are given access to.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).