Mar 19, 2018

Senate committee probes Facebook, Cambridge Analytica

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Senate Commerce Committee is sending written questions to Cambridge Analytica's parent company and Facebook about the revelation that the data consulting firm improperly gathered user data from the social giant.

Why it matters: This is the most aggressive action by Republicans yet to investigate the reports about the Trump-linked analytics firm.

“They’ve got responsibility to make sure that that information is used in an appropriate way, so we want to find out how it was gotten, how it was used, and we want Facebook obviously to be transparent about that.”
— Sen. John Thune

What they're saying: "We’ve got a questionnaire that we are sending out to the folks at Facebook and we’re going to have a series of questions for them to answer, and then we’re asking them to come in and brief us, and then we’ll decide based on that," said committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.)

The details: He said he wasn't sure yet whether Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg should testify before Congress, as some have called for. A committee spokesperson said the panel also planned to send questions to Cambridge Analytica parent SCL. A Facebook spokesperson said Monday night the company had received the questions and appreciated the opportunity to respond to them.

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Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned Tuesday after apologizing for comments he made about Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed after a letter he wrote pleading with the Navy to address the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt was leaked to the press. The resignation was first reported by Politico.

Why it matters: The controversy over Crozier's removal was exacerbated after audio leaked of Modly's address to the crew, in which he said Crozier was either "too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this." After initially backing Modly's decision, President Trump said at a briefing Monday that he would "get involved."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,407,123— Total deaths: 81,103 — Total recoveries: 297,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 386,800 — Total deaths: 12,285 — Total recoveries: 20,191Map.
  3. Trump admin latest: Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill.
  4. Federal government latest: Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week — Testing capacity is still lagging far behind demand.
  5. World update: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  6. Wisconsin primary in photos: Thousands gathered to cast ballots in-person during the height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Pelosi calls for removal of acting Navy secretary

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday called for the firing or resignation of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, following his decision to relieve Capt. Brett Crozier from his command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt last week.

Why it matters: Pelosi said Modly "showed a serious lack of the sound judgment and strong leadership" in firing Crozier, who wrote a letter pleading for help in battling a coronavirus outbreak onboard the ship. The letter was leaked to the press, leading to Crozier's ouster.