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New York attorney general will reportedly probe Facebook over its 'unintentional' collection of contact lists from some users

Key Points
  • The New York state attorney general's office on Thursday announced plans to open an investigation into Facebook's improper collection of users' contact lists.
  • Since 2016, Facebook collected the address book data of 1.5 million users whom were asked to enter their email passwords when signing up for new accounts, according to a Business Insider report earlier this month.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma (not pictured), at the China Development Forum in Beijing, China, March 19, 2016. 
Shu Zhang | Reuters

The New York state attorney general's office on Thursday announced plans to open an investigation into Facebook's improper collection of users' contact lists.

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday tweeted that "It's time Facebook be held accountable for how it handles consumers' personal info." The investigation was first reported by the New York Times.

Since 2016, Facebook collected the address book data of 1.5 million users whom were asked to enter their email passwords when signing up for new accounts to verify their identities, according to a Business Insider report earlier this month. The company said it had "unintentionally uploaded" that data.

The New York attorney general's office's investigation will focus on how this practice occurred and whether more users were impacted, according to the Thursday report.

This news comes a day after Facebook took a one-time $3 billion charge in anticipation of a possible fine from the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook warned the actual charge could be as much as $5 billion. The FTC has been probing Facebook since March 2018 following reports that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly access the data of 87 million Facebook users.

Facebook did not responded to a request for comment.

Shares were unchanged after hours, after rising nearly 6%% during the day following a blowout earnings report on Wednesday.

WATCH: Here's how to see which apps have access to your Facebook data — and cut them off

VIDEO1:1001:10
Here's how to see which apps have access to your Facebook data — and cut them off