The New York State Department of Financial Services has requested information from Facebook regarding apps that were sending sensitive personal data to the site, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
The regulator is stepping up an investigation after the report showed the apps sent data like body weight and menstrual cycles. There are at least 11 apps involved in the investigation.
The investigators sent out letters to Facebook and the app developers. One of the letters, which was addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asked for information from all companies that sent user data to Facebook in the last three years. They also requested the data categories and a list of all included residents from New York State.
The Journal investigation also found that six of the top 15 health and fitness apps in the Apple Store were using a Facebook-provided SDK.
The letters to app developers ask for contracts with Facebook, and a list of the fees and commissions it got from the social media giant. The letters say investigators want the info by March 15.
Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the investigation last week after the Journal report showed that the apps sent Facebook the information, whether the user was a member of the network or not.
Cuomo said the sharing of data was “an outrageous abuse of privacy,” and that federal regulators should join the investigation and “help us put an end to this practice.”
The company is also being investigated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Ireland’s privacy regulator recently said it had 10 open investigations regarding Facebook, looking into whether it violated the European Union’s new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The letters don’t threaten penalties, but they do acknowledge that investigators are weighing the severity of the offenses in connection with a license granted to the company for Facebook payments.