India has sent a notice to Facebook asking about possible data breaches and electoral manipulation. With 241 million active members, India is the social media giant’s largest market.India’s government has sent a notice to Facebook asking whether the personal data of voters has been compromised by UK-based Cambridge Analytica or any other “downstream entity.”
The notice from India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology comes after it sent a similar letter last week to Cambridge Analytica questioning whether the data mining firm misused voters’ personal information and manipulated elections in the world’s most populous democracy.
Facebook is in the hot seat after allegations Cambridge Analytica misused the data of millions of social media users and attempted to influence elections.
Read more: Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal: What you need to know
The notice from India’s technology body asked “whether Facebook or its related or downstream agencies utilizing Facebook’s data have previously been engaged by any entities to manipulate the Indian electoral process?”
It also asked: “What are the specific steps proposed to be taken by Facebook to prevent any misuse of personal data for potential interference in, or manipulation of the Indian electoral process?”
The US-based social media giant was given until April 7 to respond, while Cambridge Analytica has until the end of the month.
Digital experts say India has weak data protection laws.
Read more: Facebook: German justice minister vows stricter regulations
The snowballing Facebook data scandal has led to mutual accusations about the misuse of voter data between Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party and the main opposition Congress Party.
Both parties accuse each other of using Cambridge Analytica, which they deny.
Meanwhile, allegations have also emerged that apps and websites used by both parties shared the personal data of voters with third parties without their consent.
Read more: India’s Narendra Modi in hot water over alleged app data-sharing
India holds a general election in 2019 and there are also several state votes this year and next.
cw/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)
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