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Concerns over Facebook data and privacy may prompt regulation

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With Facebook faces mounting pressure, the social media giant is bound to face some changes including regulation from the federal government. (KGO-TV)

The Senate Judiciary Committee announced it will meet in two weeks to demand answers from the executives at Facebook, Twitter and Google on the issue of data privacy practices.

Committee chairman Chuck Grassley says the panel could look at new rules for social media companies.

RELATED: Zuckerberg invited to testify at Senate Committee hearing

This comes hours after the Federal Trade Commission confirmed it is investigating the Menlo Park company.

With Facebook facing mounting pressure, the social media giant is bound to face some changes, including regulation from the federal government.

Facebook admits it needs to do better when it comes to privacy and data. Last week, news broke that a consulting giant Cambridge Analytica was given data of tens of thousands of users without their permission. Santa Clara University Law professor Eric Goldman says it's good legislators are now asking questions and looking at imposing regulations, but Goldman has concerns.



"We're still figuring out what works and what doesn't so until we have a clear sense of what the opportunities to regulate are and what the costs are I think we run a strong risk of getting something wrong," explained Goldman.

Goldman says the federal government can't go too far because they run the risk of violating the First Amendment. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg now says he's open to regulation, but industry insiders say there's a reason for that.

TIPS: How to unlink Facebook account from third party apps

"When they say they're fine with regulation, that's in part because they know it's going to close the door behind them and make it even harder for their competitors to emerge," said Goldman.

That's because Facebook has deep pockets and other start ups or viable competitors don't have the cash flow to hire manpower to adhere to data and privacy regulations. Industry insiders say this scandal could blow over, but so far it seems to have staying power and it could impact the workforce there.

RELATED: Zuckerberg admits mistakes, promises steps to limit Facebook data sharing

"If Facebook becomes an evil social network that nobody wants to work at, if it loses its moral high ground, it may have a tougher time hiring top talent in Silicon Valley and that can lead to a stagnation of innovation a few years down the line," said Josh Constine, an editor at Techcrunch who has written extensively on Facebook.

Last week there was a #deletefacebook movement, but that has died down. Constine said the reason it didn't go anywhere is because there is no alternative to Facebook right now.

RELATED: FTC opens investigation into Facebook data protections

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The FTC is investigating Facebook's privacy practices following a week of privacy scandals including whether the company engaged in "unfair acts" that cause "substantial injury" to consumers.

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