FTC official raps Facebook for booting political ads probe

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WASHINGTON – A senior Federal Trade Commission official is criticizing Facebook’s move to shut down the personal accounts of two academic researchers and terminate their probe into misinformation spread through political ads on the social network.

Facebook wrongly used a 2019 data-privacy settlement with the FTC to justify shutting down the New York University researchers’ accounts this week, Samuel Levine, acting director of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau, said in a letter Thursday to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg,

Levine also said Facebook failed to honor a prior commitment to notify the FTC in advance of taking such an action.

Facebook maintained that the researchers violated its terms of service and were involved in unauthorized data collection from its massive network. The academics, however, say the company is attempting to exert control on research that paints it in a negative light.

The NYU researchers with the Ad Observatory Project…

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