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Mozilla suspends ads on Facebook on data privacy concerns

Internet company Mozilla Corp said on Wednesday it was suspending advertising on Facebook’s social media platform on concerns of data privacy.

The decision follows allegations that a political consultancy gained inappropriate access to data on 50 million Facebook users to build profiles on American voters that were later used to help elect U.S. President Donald Trump in 2016.

“We understand that Facebook took steps to limit developer access to friends’ data beginning in 2014. This was after Facebook started its relationship with Cambridge University Professor Aleksandr Kogan, whose decision to share data he collected from Facebook with Cambridge Analytica is currently in the news,” Mozilla said in a blog post.

“This news caused us to take a closer look at Facebook’s current default privacy settings given that we support the platform with our advertising dollars. While we believe there is still more to learn, we found that its current default settings leave access open to a lot of data – particularly with respect to settings for third party apps.”

On late Wednesday, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the company’s handling of a row over user privacy, while promising tougher steps to restrict developers’ access to such information.

Mozilla said it would consider returning to Facebook if the company strengthens its default privacy settings for third party apps.

“We are encouraged that Mark Zuckerberg has promised to improve the privacy settings and make them more protective. When Facebook takes stronger action in how it shares customer data, specifically strengthening its default privacy settings for third party apps, we’ll consider returning.”

British advertising group ISBA on Wednesday threatened to pull out ads for big brands if investigations show user data has been misused, the Times reported, adding that ISBA will meet Facebook executives this week

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