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More US agencies join DOJ probe into Facebook, Cambridge Analytica data sharing

More U.S. federal agencies have joined an expanded investigation into Facebook Inc.'s sharing of user data with the now-defunct political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica LLC, The Washington Post reported, citing sources familiar with the inquiries.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have reportedly joined the Department of Justice in its inquiry, which has been broadened to include Facebook's actions and statements before the U.S. Congress in relation to the data misuse scandal.

Investigators, however, are focused on the types of data Facebook allowed to be harvested and under what conditions, the sources said.

Matt Steinfeld, Facebook's director of communications and public affairs, has confirmed that the company received questions from the agencies and is providing information to them on the matter, according to the report.

Facebook has faced increased scrutiny of its data-sharing policies since March when it disclosed that millions of users' data had been improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica and other third-party developers. The company estimated that data from as many as 87 million users may have been improperly shared as part of the data scandal, up from an initial estimate of 50 million.

The company's founder, chairman and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was grilled by U.S. Senate and House committees earlier in 2018 over the mishandling of user data and signaled some interest in drafting stronger regulations and consumer privacy protections for social media companies.

The FTC has also been investigating Facebook's data sharing policies in relation to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The social networking giant could face significant fines if the issue was found to have violated an earlier consent decree with the commission.