Nov 27, 2018

Regulator stays mum on Facebook investigation

FTC Chairman Joe Simons. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The chair of the Federal Trade Commission wouldn't say on Tuesday when the agency plans to finish its investigation of Facebook's privacy practices, despite being pressed by members of Congress.

The big picture: Since the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal broke earlier this year, causing the FTC to confirm that it was investigating the social giant, Facebook has been hit by more controversies over privacy and its use of opposition research on critics.


  • FTC Chairman Joe Simons said that it would "inappropriate for me to comment on a specific non-public investigation" when Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked him when the agency planned to wrap up its probe.
  • He also wouldn't say how many employees are working on the investigation.
  • Blumenthal wasn't satisfied with Simons' answers, though it is fairly standard for the FTC to disclose little about ongoing investigations. The lawmaker said people "need to know when you will have some results" because "continuing violations clearly show" the issues with Facebook are not isolated cases.

Yes, but: Asked if the agency would make a public comment about the results of its Facebook investigation, Simons responded: “I would think so.”

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.

Coronavirus spreads to Africa as U.S. soldier in South Korea tests positive

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

A 23-year-old American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive to the novel coronavirus, as the outbreak spreads to more countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health