House committee wants to grill Zuckerberg on Facebook data privacy

A House committee wants some answers from Facebook guru Mark Zuckerberg after a complaint that users’ sensitive medical information posted in supposedly private groups could easily be harvested by insurers and “online bullies.”

“In light of the committee’s continuing commitment to protect the privacy of the American people, we request a staff briefing on the issues raised by the complaint no later than March 1, 2019, so we can better understand Facebook’s practices with respect to so-called closed and anonymous groups,” reads a letter addressed to Zuckerberg from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

The issue first surfaced publicly in July, when a group for women with a gene mutation called BRCA learned that sensitive information, including names and email addresses of members, could be downloaded in bulk, The Verge reported.

Advocates for the women filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission accusing Facebook of failing to protect health data in its groups.

The letter from lawmakers asked whether the social media giant “may have failed to properly notify group members that their personal health information may have been accessed by health insurance companies and online bullies, among others.”

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