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Facebook drops opposition to California's proposed privacy law – CNET

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday about the company’s involvement in a data privacy scandal.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Facebook will stop working to defeat a proposed consumer privacy bill in California as it faces scrutiny from lawmakers over its own privacy protection practices.

The social networking company, along with Google and Comcast, have contributed $200,000 each since February to a campaign to defeat the California Consumer Privacy Act. The bill would require companies to disclose the type of personal data they gather and give people the right to prevent businesses from selling their personal data.

“We took this step in order to focus our efforts on supporting reasonable privacy measures in California,” a Facebook spokesman said Wednesday, confirming an earlier statement by Californians for Consumer Privacy, a proponent of the proposed bill.

The decision to withdraw funding comes as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrapped up his second and final day of testimony in Washington, in which he apologized  for the privacy nightmare involving Cambridge Analytica. Facebook banned the UK-based political data analysis firm last month, saying it had improperly received as many as 87 million user profiles leaked from its service.

Facebook has said that a Cambridge University lecturer named Aleksandr Kogan collected the data legitimately through a personality quiz app but then violated Facebook’s terms by sharing the information with Cambridge Analytica, a firm later hired by the Trump presidential campaign during the 2016 US election.

Facebook learned of the infraction in 2015 but didn’t inform the public. Instead, the company demanded that all the parties involved destroy the information. But now there are reports that not all the data was deleted.

Alastair Mactaggart, a San Francisco real estate developer, is the chief proponent and funding for the proposed bill, which still has yet to qualify for the November ballot.

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