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Facebook Hit With Three State Probes Over Privacy Violations

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Facebook is now being investigated by at least three additional states regarding the alleged mishandling of user data.

According to Bloomberg, Attorneys General in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Connecticut are investigating existing allegations against the company, while New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts are looking to find any potential unknown violations. North Carolina is also part of the probe.

In the meantime, the District of Columbia’s attorney general Karl Racine is working on his own, and sued Facebook in December for allegedly violating Washington’s consumer protection laws. Earlier this week Racine said he believes more states will sue the social media giant.

Facebook has been under fire since it was revealed that the site was used to gather details on as many as 87 million users, and the data was then shared with Cambridge Analytica, a U.K. consulting firm that has since been shuttered. Other user data breaches and issues have since been exposed.

And earlier this week, U.S. senators questioned the company over reports that it secretly paid users for their data, as well as allowed kids playing games on the site to make thousands of dollars in purchases, which the company called “friendly fraud.”

“We’re having productive conversations with attorneys general on this important topic,” Will Castleberry, a Facebook vice president of public policy, said in an email. “Many officials have approached us in a constructive manner, focused on solutions that ensure all companies are protecting people’s information, and we look forward to continuing to work with them.”

In January, it was reported that U.S. regulators met to discuss issuing a “record-setting” fine against the company. It's expected that the punishment will be higher than the $22.5 million paid by Google in 2012. In addition, if Facebook is found to have breached the General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) that has now taken effect in Europe, the company could be fined as much as $1.6 billion.

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