In a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, US lawmakers asked for details on the disabling of researchers’ accounts. 

On Monday, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Mark Warner, D-Va., and Chris Coons, D-Del., pressed Facebook on why it disabled the accounts of researchers studying political ads on the platform, stating that it was “imperative” that researchers be allowed to look into “harmful activity…proliferating on its platforms.”

Facebook announced last week it had cut off access and disabled the personal accounts of a group of New York University researchers citing concerns about other users’ privacy. 

In the letter to the Senators, they asked Facebook why and how many researchers or journalists had their accounts disabled. 

Facebook stated that the research violated its rules to protect the privacy of its users. A Facebook spokesman said:

”We repeatedly explained our privacy concerns to NYU, but their researchers ultimately chose not to address them and instead resumed scraping people’s data and ads from our platform,” a spokesman said.”

The lawmakers have been given Facebook until August 20 to reply. 

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