TOKYO — Japanese authorities have launched an investigation into Facebook, in line with their British counterparts, to get to the bottom of the massive breaches of user data that came to light this year.
The social media platform is cooperating with the Personal Information Protection Commission here, Facebook’s Japanese unit told Nikkei on Friday. Company officials are being called in to provide answers to the commission.
A University of Cambridge researcher was found this year to have harvested Facebook information on up to 87 million people via an app and shared it with an analytics company. Separately, the hacking of nearly 50 million Facebook accounts came to light in September, prompting the Information Commissioner’s Office of the U.K. to say it would be making inquiries with Facebook and the ICO’s overseas counterparts. The ICO announced in July that it would fine Facebook over the Cambridge scandal.
Facebook unveiled privacy changes this past spring. But they are not easily understood by average users, so the Japanese commission will push for enhanced disclosure. The commission is also investigating Google’s exposure of personal information on up to 500,000 people.