Cuomo Requests Facebook Probe After Report on Privacy Invasion

(Bloomberg) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on state agencies and federal regulators to investigate Facebook Inc. after a newspaper report that the company had access to sensitive information -- including personal health data -- on the users of some apps.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the company’s software collects information from many apps, even if the end user isn’t logged into Facebook or doesn’t have a Facebook account. Apps such as Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor and Realtor.com send information to the social media giant without providing users with an apparent way to opt out, the paper said.

“We must hold internet companies -- no matter how big -- responsible for upholding the law and protecting the information of smartphone users,” Cuomo said in a statement. He directed the departments of state and financial services to investigate.

A Facebook spokeswoman told the Journal that the company requires app developers to be clear about the information they’re sharing and that Facebook may take action against app developers that are violating its policies.

In the past couple of years, the Menlo Park, California-based company has been criticized for how it handles personal data as well as the spread of misinformation. The series of missteps, including a major breach in September, have eroded trust among the social-media giant’s 2 billion-plus global users.

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