Facebook Unveils Portal Smart-Screen To Connect With Loved Ones

 

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled second-generation Portal smart screens, touting them as a way to stay connected to loved ones at the leading social network.

Facebook also pushed down costs to make new Portal, Portal Mini, and Portal TV devices more enticing to consumers at a starting price of $129.

Portal and Portal Mini will begin shipping on October 15, while a notepad-sized  Portal TV device that turns a television into a smart screen for video calls and more will begin shipping on November 5 at a price of $149.

Facebook would not disclose how many Portal devices have been sold since they were introduced late last year, but said adoption has been strong enough to inspire second-generation models.

Shipments of smart speakers in the US last year nearly doubled to 57.5 million, with Amazon accounting for about 48 percent of the market and Google claiming nearly 39 percent, according to International Data Corp.

Amazon Echo and Google Nest smart devices use their respective digital assistant software to infuse in-home speakers and screens with voice-commanded intelligence.

“We know the smart device category is packed and competitive; and those devices are great,” Facebook augmented and virtual reality vice president Andrew “Boz” Bosworth said while providing a look at the Portal line-up.

“But, Portal is the only device that is going to connect you with people you care about; and I would contend that any smart device that doesn’t do that isn’t that smart at all.”

Calling WhatsApp 

Amazon Echo Show and Google Nest smart screens  can be used to make video calls, but Portal is tied into connections at Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp, which is encrypted end-to-end.

The Facebook-owned messaging apps as well as the social network itself are each used by more than a billion people monthly.

“This is not about the world needs another Echo Show or the world needs another Google Nest Hub, this is a product that serves a very specific purpose and is messaged accordingly, that’s the person-to-person interaction,” Gartner personal technologies research director Werner Goertz said at the briefing.

Mindful that internet users have become wary of their privacy at Facebook, features built into Portal include physical switches to turn off cameras and microphones.

Covers can be slid over camera lenses, and data from cameras and microphones is processed on devices instead of on data centers in the cloud.

Facebook’s system knows which parties are being connected on video calls, but doesn’t listen to what is said, Facebook executives said.

Portal users will be able to opt out of having  snippets of voice commands stored and reviewed to improve the software’s grasp of spoken words, according to Bosworth.

 TV and games 

Portal TV features include using augmented reality for funny looks and playing games such as boat-sinking classic “Battleship,” along with the ability to watch Amazon Prime shows with far-away friends or family.

The voice-commanded smart screens can also be used for other online television apps or for streaming music services such as Pandora and Spotify.

Facebook said its advertising system would know little about Portal users, and that it had no plans at this time to weave money-making marketing into the video-calling service.

“This product is the core essence of what Facebook does; it connects you with the very people you care most about,” Bosworth said.

Portal digital aide software works alongside Amazon virtual assistant Alexa, which also provides software brains for Echo devices.

Facebook was also expanding Portal available from just Canada and the US to include Australia, Britain, France, Italy, New Zealand, and Spain.

AFP

New Facebook Panel Can Overrule Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on May 1, 2018. JOSH EDELSON / AFP

 

Facebook said on Tuesday it has finalised its charter for its “independent oversight board,” giving the panel the authority to overrule chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on questions of appropriate content.

The new entity, based on Zuckerberg’s call for a “supreme court” that would make difficult calls on what is suitable content for Facebook, is moving closer to reality with the charter released by the social network.

Zuckerberg said in a statement the independent panel would have the final say on these matters of what belongs on the social platform.

“If someone disagrees with a decision we’ve made, they can appeal to us first, and soon they will be able to further appeal to this independent board,” he said.

“The board’s decision will be binding, even if I or anyone at Facebook disagrees with it.”

Facebook will also create a separate “independent trust” that will act as a conduit for funding and ensure the oversight panel is not subject to influence from company executives.

“The majority of people we consulted supported our decision to establish an independent trust,” Facebook governance chief Brent Harris said.

“They felt that this could help ensure the board’s independence, while also providing a means to provide additional accountability checks. The trust will provide the infrastructure to support and compensate the board.”

The charter, a nine-page document, sets rules for the new panel of up to 40 members. Facebook said earlier this year it was ready to open nominations after consultations in 88 countries.

Facebook’s initiative comes amid intense pressure around the world for the social platform used by more than two billion people to root out abusive content, manipulation and hoaxes, while remaining open to free expression.

The new entity will focus solely on content moderation and not on other questions such as algorithmic feed ranking or artificial intelligence.

“The board will be an advocate for our community — supporting people’s right to free expression, and making sure we fulfil our responsibility to keep people safe,” Zuckerberg wrote on Tuesday.

“As an independent organization, we hope it gives people confidence that their views will be heard, and that Facebook doesn’t have the ultimate power over their expression.”

AFP

Facebook Teams Up With London Police To Track Terror Live Streams

 

Facebook on Tuesday teamed up with the London police to help its artificial intelligence tools track live streams of terror attacks such as the New Zealand mosque massacre.

A self-professed white supremacist used a head-mounted camera in March to broadcast live footage on Facebook of him attacking two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

Facebook and platforms such as YouTube came under intense criticism for initially failing to detect the broadcast and then struggling to take down its uploads that proliferated online.

New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and other world leaders in May launched a “Christchurch Call to Action” against online extremism — a campaign major platforms joined later that month.

The California-based social media behemoth said Tuesday it was in the process of updating and refining its policies for dealing with extremism and online hate.

“Some of these changes predate the tragic terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, but that attack, and the global response to it in the form of the Christchurch Call to Action, has strongly influenced the recent updates to our policies and their enforcement.”

Machine Learning

London’s Metropolitan Police said the initiative will see it provide Facebook footage of training by its forearms command unit.

The videos will be captured on body cameras provided by Facebook that London’s Firearms Command officers wear during exercises.

This will help Facebook “capture the volume of images needed to train our machine learning tools,” the company said.

“This will mean our AI tools will be able to more accurately and rapidly identify real-life first-person shooter incidents and remove them from our platform.”

The London police said its footage will be combined with video Facebook is already using from law enforcement agencies in the United States.

The new technology will “also significantly help prevent the glorification of such acts and the promotion of the toxic ideologies that drive them,” Britain’s Special Operations assistant commissioner Neil Basu said.

The Metropolitan Police said Facebook decided to ask London for help because it has created the world’s first counter-terror internet response team focused on online hate.

The machine learning tools will also be applied to Facebook’s hugely successful Instagram platform as it captures more and more younger users worldwide.

The London police said it will further share its training footage with the UK interior ministry so that it can then offer it to other interested social media networks as the initiative grows.

“Firearms Command regularly train in how to respond to a wide variety of scenarios, from terrorist incidents to hostage situations, on land, public transport and water,” the London police said.

“The footage they provide will show a ‘shooter’ perspective in a broad range of situations.”

‘Crisis Intervention’

The speed with which the videos spread and Facebook’s initial inability to track them all down redoubled public and government scrutiny of the world’s biggest social media company.

The Christchurch images were broadcast live for 17 minutes — and remained online for a further 12 minutes — before Facebook was alerted by a user and took it down.

Yet millions of upload and shares continued to spread for days.

Facebook on Tuesday defended its track record but conceded that “bad actors will continue to try to get around our systems”.

It reported banning 200 white supremacist organisations and removing 26 million “pieces of content” or terrorist organisation such as the Islamic State.

Facebook said Tuesday that it was also expanding to Australia and Indonesia a US programme in which users who search for extremist content on the platform are directed to a special support group.

The US group was “founded by former violent extremists that provides crisis intervention, education, support groups and outreach,” Facebook said.

Facebook Shuts Italian Neo-Fascist Parties’ Accounts

 

Social network giant Facebook has shut down the pages of Italian neo-fascist parties CasaPound and Forza Nuova, prompting threats of a class-action lawsuit from their leaders.

“People and organisations who spread hate or attack others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook and Instagram,” the company said in a statement sent to AFP on Tuesday.

“The accounts we have banned today violate this policy”, it said.

The parties’ chiefs – who also had their personal accounts shut – slammed the move as anti-democratic.

CasaPound’s president Gianluca Iannone said the party would “file an urgent class-action lawsuit” against the US giant.

Its secretary Simone Di Stefano railed against what he described as a “spit in the face of democracy”, while Forza Nuova head Roberto Fiore said the shut-down was a “repression” of free-thinking.

The Forza Nuova website boasts the slogan “Italy for Italians” and is accused of encouraging violence and intolerance.

Activists from both parties took part Monday in a demonstration against the new pro-European government, organised by the small, far-right Brothers of Italy party in front of parliament, where Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was giving a speech.

They could be heard chanting “Duce! Duce!” — the title fascists used to address 20th-century dictator Benito Mussolini — and performing the right-arm fascist salute.

Many on the political left welcomed Facebook’s decision.

Conte on Monday called on the political class and Italian citizens to moderate their tone – particularly on social networks – following 14 months of a populist government which has fomented hate, particularly via the Internet.

Facebook Hit With Antitrust Investigation

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers his speech during the VivaTech (Viva Technology) trade fair in Paris.  GERARD JULIEN / AFP

 

A coalition of US states unveiled on Friday an antitrust investigation of Facebook, the first of what is expected to be a wave of action against dominant technology firms.

New York state Attorney General Letitia James announced the action on behalf of seven other states and the District of Columbia to probe “whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk.”

The case may be the first in a series of antitrust actions against Big Tech firms and highlights growing “techlash,” based on worries about platforms which control the flow of online information and dominate key economic sectors.

READ ALSO: 400m Facebook Users’ Phone Numbers Exposed In Privacy Lapse – Reports

“We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising,” James said.

Joining the action were attorneys general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee, said James.

Earlier this year the US Department of Justice said it would launch a “review” of major online platforms to determine if they have stifled innovation or reduced competition.

It was not immediately clear if the states would be working in coordination with federal officials.

 Rising fears 

Facebook offered no immediate comment, but in the past it has claimed it is not a monopoly and that consumers have many choices for how to connect with people online.

The new probe “shows how unease with large tech companies is spreading beyond Congress and the federal government agencies to the states,” said Michael Carrier, professor of antitrust law at Rutgers University.

“With each passing day, there are greater fears about these companies controlling our online lives.”

Yet the legal basis for an antitrust action remains unclear, said Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University.

“It remains to be seen if the (attorneys general) have any merit to their complaints or if they will be conducting a fishing expedition hoping to find some damning evidence,” Goldman said.

“Companies as large as Google or Facebook probably have minor problematic practices the AGs could target, but I’m still waiting for any evidence that would support more structural challenges to the internet giants’ practices.”

 More on Monday 

A separate coalition of states was set to launch another antitrust initiative, with Google reportedly a target.

The office of the Texas attorney general scheduled an event Monday in Washington with a “broad coalition of states” to unveil a probe into “whether large tech companies have engaged in anticompetitive behavior that stifled competition, restricted access, and harmed consumers.”

Google confirmed Friday that the Department of Justice had asked for its records on previous antitrust probes.

“The DOJ has asked us to provide information about these past investigations, and we expect state attorneys general will ask similar questions,” Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, said in a blog post.

He stressed that Google was “one of America’s top spenders on research and development, making investments that spur innovation” and pledged to work constructively with regulators.

What’s the remedy? 

Maurice Stucke, a University of Tennessee law professor, said he expects one of the areas being investigated will be online advertising markets, which are dominated by Google and Facebook.

“This is a great area to look at because the market has been criticized as being opaque,” Stucke said.

Stucke said the investigations may go further by looking at how tech platforms control data, potentially examining “the intersection between competition law and privacy.”

Amazon and Apple may also be in the crosshairs. Critics have complained that Amazon wields too much power in online retail, and that Apple may disadvantage rivals offering services in its app store.

In the European Union, Google has faced a series of antitrust actions and Amazon is now being targeted by enforcers.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has made a breakup of the big tech firms a part of her campaign platform.

But some analysts say the case against the tech firms faces challenges because the companies have in many cases provided services for free and brought prices down, making it hard to prove they harmed “consumer welfare,” a longstanding judicial precedent.

Jessica Melugin of the Competitive Enterprise Institute said the state officials are stretching the limits of antitrust.

“This sort of high-profile activism may benefit state AGs’ political ambitions, but impose harmful costs on consumers, businesses, and the economy,” she said in a statement.

But Stucke said it would be wrong to view antitrust law as solely focused on consumer prices, and that it may be applied to questions of competition and innovation.

The probes could end up with a variety of outcomes including fines, restrictions on conduct or a breakup, Stucke maintained.

“You’d have to show how the remedy would address the concerns,” he said.

AFP

400m Facebook Users’ Phone Numbers Exposed In Privacy Lapse – Reports

 

Phone numbers linked to more than 400 million Facebook accounts were listed online in the latest privacy lapse for the social media giant, US media reported Wednesday.

An exposed server stored 419 million records on users across several databases — including 133 million US accounts, more than 50 million in Vietnam, and 18 million in Britain, according to technology news site TechCruch.

The databases listed Facebook user IDs — unique digits attached to each account — the profiles’ phone numbers, as well as the gender listed by some accounts and their geographical locations, technology website TechCrunch reported.

The server was not password protected, meaning anyone could access the databases, and remained online until late Wednesday when TechCrunch contacted the site’s host.

Facebook confirmed parts of the report but downplayed the extent of the exposure, saying that the number of accounts so far confirmed was around half of the reported 419 million.

It added that many of the entries were duplicates and that the data was old.

“The dataset has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP.

Following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, when a firm used Facebook’s lax privacy settings to access millions of users’ personal details, the company disabled a feature that allowed users to search the platform by phone numbers.

The exposure of a user’s phone number leaves them vulnerable to spam calls, SIM-swapping — as recently happened to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey — with hackers able to force-reset the passwords of the compromised accounts.

AFP

Facebook Tightens Rules For Political Adverts Ahead Of US Elections

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on May 1, 2018.  JOSH EDELSON / AFP

 

Facebook said Wednesday it would tighten its rules for political ad spending ahead of the 2020 US elections, notably by requiring more information about who is paying for campaign messages.

The move is the latest by Facebook to crack down on efforts to deceive or manipulate users after the social network admitted lapses in the 2016 election.

While Facebook has already begun requiring political advertisers to provide identification to confirm who they are and where they are located, the new policy requires more information to show they are registered with the US government.

This new verification can be done by submitting a tax identification number or proof that the group is registered with the Federal Election Commission.

“People should know who is trying to influence their vote and advertisers shouldn’t be able to cover up who is paying for ads,” a Facebook blog post said.

The new steps call for “strengthening the authorization process for US advertisers, showing people more information about each advertiser and updating our list of social issues” for advertisers.

Facebook said organizations that fail to submit the verification will see their ads “paused” by mid-October.

Smaller businesses or local politicians unable to meet the new requirements may still be able to place ads on Facebook by providing a verifiable phone number and mailing address or personal information, but the ads will not be tagged as being from a “confirmed organization.”

Facebook said it planned to make improvements to its “ad library” to more easily track and compare spending of US presidential candidates.

It also said it would prohibit ads “that expressly discourage people in the US from voting,” in response to recent civil rights audit.

Account holders for national candidates will be required to use two-factor authentication and verify their location “so that we can confirm these pages are using real accounts and are located in the US,” Facebook said.

AFP

Facebook Launches Tool To Let Users Control Data Flow

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on May 1, 2018.  JOSH EDELSON / AFP

 

Facebook, under pressure to ramp up privacy rules across its platform, said on Tuesday it was rolling out a tool allowing users to control data that it receives from other apps and websites about their online activity.

The new tool is to give clients access to their so-called “off-Facebook activity” — fed back to Facebook with the aim of targeting advertisements — and give them the option of deleting it.

“Off-Facebook Activity lets you see a summary of the apps and websites that send us information about your activity, and clear this information from your account if you want to,” it said in a statement.

“This is another way to give people more transparency and control on Facebook,” it said.

Currently, commercial websites visited by a customer who also has a Facebook account may send Facebook details of that visit, prompting the social network to show that person ads related to any product they may have searched for.

With the new Facebook tool, users will be able to see a summary of information that other apps and websites have sent Facebook through business tools such as Facebook Pixel or Facebook log in.

They then have the option of disconnecting this information, or all future off-Facebook activity, from their account.

The new feature will be rolled out first in Ireland, South Korea and Spain, and then everywhere else over the coming months, Facebook said.

“We expect this could have some impact on our business, but we believe giving people control over their data is more important,” it said.

Last month, US regulators slapped Facebook with a record $5-billion fine for data protection violations in a wide-ranging settlement that calls for revamping privacy controls and oversight at the social network.

“We’ve agreed to pay a historic fine, but even more important, we’re going to make some major structural changes to how we build products and run this company,” Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the time, adding that “we’re going to set a completely new standard for our industry,” he said.

AFP

Twitter, Facebook: China Used Platforms Against Hong Kong Protests

 

Twitter and Facebook on Monday said they uncovered campaigns by China to use the social media platforms against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

“We are disclosing a significant state-backed information operation focused on the situation in Hong Kong, specifically the protest movement and their calls for political change,” Twitter said in an online post.

Facebook said in a separate post that a tip from Twitter led to the removal of Facebook pages, groups and accounts involved in “coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a small network that originated in China and focused on Hong Kong.”

Facebook Removes Profile Frame Targeting Religious Minority

Breaking Up Facebook Isn't The Answer, Says Zuckerberg
This file photo taken on February 18, 2019, shows the US social media Facebook logo displayed on a tablet in Paris. PHOTO: Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

Facebook said on Wednesday it has removed a profile frame targeting Pakistan’s long-persecuted Ahmadi community as the media giant continues to grapple with the proliferation of hate speech on the social network.

Profile frames are filters Facebook users can add to their pictures that often promote a cause, celebrate a holiday, or commemorate an event or tragedy.

The frame withdrawn by Facebook called for the death of the Ahmadis in Urdu and was widely shared in Pakistan.

“We have removed the Profile Frames in question for violating our rules, and have ensured that they’re unavailable for future use,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP via email.

“We do not tolerate any content — including anything shared within Profile Frames — that incites violence, and we remove this content whenever we become aware of it.”

The frame was extensively used by Pakistani Facebook users after US President Donald Trump met with several leading members of persecuted religious groups in the White House earlier this month, including a representative from Pakistan’s Ahmadi community.

Ahmadis were legally declared non-Muslims in Pakistan decades ago for their belief in a prophet after Mohammed and have long been persecuted and widely hated in the deeply conservative country.

Hardline Islamic scholars denounce the Ahmadis as heretics and the group has been the target of violence and threats by leading politicians in Pakistan over the years.

Facebook disabled 2.19 billion accounts in the first quarter of this year, nearly double the number of accounts nixed in the prior three-month period.

The social network took down four million posts considered hate speech in the first quarter of this year and continues to invest in technology to better detect such material in various languages and regions.

However, Facebook has been battered by criticism that it was more focused on growth than protecting users or thwarting deception, bullying, and harassment.

AFP

US Fines Facebook $5bn, Toughens Privacy Oversight

 

US regulators on Wednesday slapped a record $5 billion fine on Facebook for privacy violations in a wide-ranging settlement that calls for revamping privacy controls and oversight at the social network.

The Federal Trade Commission said the penalty was the largest ever imposed on any company for violating consumers’ privacy and one of the largest penalties ever assessed by the US government for any violation.

However, two Democratic members of the five-member FTC dissented, arguing the agreement failed to go far enough to rein in Facebook business practices that endanger consumers.

The agreement requires Facebook to create a privacy committee within its board of directors to be appointed by an independent nominating committee.

READ ALSO: Four Chinese Indicted In US For Aiding North Korea’s Weapons Programme

This would end “unfettered control” of decisions on privacy by Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, the FTC statement said.

FTC Chairman Joe Simons said the penalty was appropriate to address concerns over Facebook’s misuse of personal information.

“The magnitude of the $5 billion penalty and sweeping conduct relief are unprecedented in the history of the FTC,” Simons said in a statement.

“The relief is designed not only to punish future violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations.”

Under the agreement, Facebook’s CEO and staff must submit to the FTC quarterly certifications that the company is in compliance with the privacy program as well as an annual certification.

Facebook also will be required to conduct a privacy review of every new or modified product, service, or practice before it is implemented, including for its WhatsApp and Instagram services.

 Not far enough? 

FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra rejected the settlement, saying it “does little to change the business model or practices that led to the recidivism.”

In a separate statement, dissenting FTC commissioner Rebecca Slaughter said the deal appears to absolve Facebook and key executives from liability. She said the government should instead take Facebook to court.

Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center called the FTC action “too little, too late.”

“American consumers cannot wait another decade for the commission to act against a company that violates their privacy rights,” Rotenberg said. “Congress should move quickly to establish a data protection agency.”

Charlotte Slaiman of the consumer group Public Knowledge also expressed concern that the settlement would do little to change Facebook’s business practices.

“Under this settlement, Facebook does not have to meaningfully change how it collects and uses your data,” Slaiman said.

Facebook’s top lawyer Colin Stretch said the agreement “will require a fundamental shift in the way we approach our work and it will place additional responsibility on people building our products at every level of the company.”

The FTC last year reopened its investigation of Facebook, which reached a 2011 settlement on handling private data, after a series of revelations on the mishandling of personal data.

The move came after Facebook acknowledged data on tens of millions of users had been hijacked by Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy working on the 2016 Donald Trump campaign.

 Settling Cambridge Analytica 

In a separate agreement with stock market regulators, Facebook agreed to pay a $100 million penalty for making “misleading disclosures regarding the risk of misuse of Facebook user data” in the investigation on Cambridge Analytica.

“We allege that Facebook exacerbated its disclosure failures when it misled reporters who asked the company about its investigation into Cambridge Analytica,” said Erin Schneider, head of the regional enforcement division of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The FTC announced a separate settlement on the Cambridge Analytica case that calls for its app developer Aleksandr Kogan and former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix to delete or destroy any personal information they collected.

Cambridge Analytica itself has filed for bankruptcy and has not settled the FTC’s investigation.

The news comes hours before Facebook was set to release its quarterly financial results.

Zuckerberg has said the social network, which has more than two billion users worldwide, will be shifting away from its role as a “digital town square” to focus on private connections and small groups.

Facebook is also seeking to launch its own digital currency called Libra, which has raised concerns among regulators.

AFP

$5bn US Fine Set For Facebook On Privacy Probe – Report

Breaking Up Facebook Isn't The Answer, Says Zuckerberg
Photo: Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

US regulators have approved a $5 billion penalty to be levied on Facebook to settle a probe into the social network’s privacy and data protection lapses, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The newspaper said the Federal Trade Commission approved the settlement in a 3-2 vote, with the two Democratic members of the consumer protection agency dissenting.

According to the report, the deal, which would be the largest penalty imposed over privacy violations, still needs approval from the Justice Department before it is finalized.

Facebook did not immediately respond to an AFP query on the agreement.

The settlement would be in line with Facebook’s estimate earlier this year when it said it expected to pay $3 billion to $5 billion for legal settlements on “user data practices.”

The FTC announced last year it reopened its investigation into a 2011 privacy settlement with Facebook after revelations that personal data on tens of millions of users was hijacked by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, working on the Donald Trump campaign in 2016.

Facebook has also faced questions about whether it improperly shared user data with business partners in violation of the earlier settlement.

The leading social network with more than two billion users worldwide has also been facing inquiries on privacy from authorities in US states and regulators around the world.

Some Facebook critics have argued the company should face tougher sanctions including monitoring of its data practices, or that chief executive Mark Zuckerberg should be personally liable for penalties.

Charlotte Slaiman of the consumer group Public Knowledge said it was not immediately clear if the settlement would require changes to Facebook’s business practices, but suggested that the partisan split on the vote was a bad omen.

“I’m hopeful that additional conditions placed on Facebook’s business practices will be forthcoming,” Slaiman said in a statement.

“Those conditions should protect not just user privacy, but also the users’