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SEC, FBI looks into Facebook probe on Cambridge Analytica data abuse

Facebook Inc. said it’s cooperating with multiple federal agencies, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, probing how profile data about the social network’s users were transferred without permission to Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm.

The company already is facing inquiries from the Federal Trade Commission, Bloomberg reported in March. That month, Facebook responded to reports that Cambridge Analytica obtained the data from a researcher who created a personality quiz app on the social network. More than 87 million people could have been affected, Facebook has said.

“We are cooperating with officials in the U.S., U.K. and beyond,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in an email. “We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged to continue our assistance as their work continues.”

Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg testified in April at congressional hearings about the company’s data privacy practices and other matters. Facebook also has responded to follow-up questions from lawmakers. The probe by the SEC and FBI was reported earlier by the Washington Post.

Facebook shares slipped 1 percent in extended trading, after closing Monday at $197.36 in New York.

The investigation is focused on what Facebook has said publicly about its data-sharing with Cambridge Analytica, the Post reported. Agencies are asking whether those remarks “square with the underlying facts” and whether Facebook made “complete and timely disclosures to the public and investigators,” according to the newspaper.

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