Facebook staff are said to quiz legal executive on data leak

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(Bloomberg) -- A Facebook Inc. executive fielded questions from employees on the situation surrounding user data obtained by Cambridge Analytica, which has set off a firestorm for the social network around the world, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Paul Grewal, a vice president and deputy general counsel at Facebook, spoke Tuesday from the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. He took workers’ questions about what Facebook knew and when, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the meeting was internal.

Grewal’s comments were broadcast to staff around the world via an "FYI Live" video -- a common way for Facebook leaders and employees to communicate. Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s top executives, didn’t take part. Facebook confirmed that a meeting occurred, without giving details.

Grewal authored a Friday evening blog post from Facebook explaining that the company was suspending Cambridge Analytica, the advertising data firm that helped Donald Trump win the U.S. presidential election in 2016. Grewal wrote that Facebook had reason to believe Cambridge Analytica didn’t delete data it obtained from users years ago without their explicit consent. His post was published ahead of reports about the data leak that were set to come out the next day from the New York Times and the Guardian’s Observer.

Facebook, frequently criticized for its public communication tactics, has historically worked to be transparent with its employees, encouraging them not to leak because they receive so much confidential internal information. Aside from the FYI Live videos, Facebook has also been answering questions via an internal group called "Wait What? Ask PR." In the group, staff are encouraged to ask questions about news reports, and critique decisions about what to say publicly.

“Mark, Sheryl and their teams are working around the clock to get all the facts and take the appropriate action moving forward, because they understand the seriousness of this issue," a Facebook representative said in a statement following the meeting. "The entire company is outraged we were deceived. We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information."

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