Israel Opens Probe Into Facebook on Possible Privacy Breach

(Bloomberg) -- Israel is investigating whether Facebook Inc. violated the country’s privacy laws, the latest government to dig into the social media giant after revelations that a British firm mined user data to help elect Donald Trump as U.S. president.

Israel’s Justice Ministry “will investigate whether personal data of Israeli citizens was illegally used in a way that infringes upon their right to privacy,” the statement said. According to Israeli privacy laws, personal data may only be used for the stated purpose, with the individual’s consent, the statement said.

An Israeli representative for Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder of Facebook, pledged Wednesday to better protect the privacy of its more than 2 billion users after reports that Cambridge Analytica harvested data from the site. Lawmakers in the U.S. and Europe have lambasted the company, calling for more accountability. A #deletefacebook online campaign has gained steam as users worry about their Facebook accounts being used for purposes they never authorized.

Facebook shares fell 1.8 percent to $166.34 at 10:58 a.m. in New York. The stock is down nearly 10 percent since the scandal broke.

Earlier this week, Israel’s justice minister said the country is considering legal action against Twitter Inc., another social media giant, for ignoring repeated requests to remove online content that seemed to incite or support terrorism.

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