By JOSH HAYWARDUK/APUKA, Nigeria (Reuters) – The head of Facebook’s digital advertising arm said the company had not been aware of a $1.2 billion-plus fraud scheme that was discovered in early October.
Mark Zuckerberg told a Senate panel that the company would work with regulators to make sure that its ads on mobile devices, social media and other platforms were not misused.
He said he was not aware of any data breach or insider trading allegations, but that he had been briefed on the issue by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Facebook is the world’s largest online advertising platform, running more than 50 million ads across a wide variety of websites and apps on Android, iOS, Apple’s iOS and Windows mobile platforms.
Its ads reach more than 30 billion people, and it has a market value of about $300 billion.
The SEC is investigating allegations that Facebook was misusing a software program called “Dot Net,” which was designed to help companies target users based on their geographic location and browsing habits.
A few months ago, the SEC received a report that alleged Facebook was “fraudulently misusing the program and its resources” and was using its resources for “further improper purposes.”
The SEC said it is looking into whether Facebook violated the securities laws by selling ads to people who had not signed up for the program, and whether the company did anything to prevent it from being misused in the first place.
Facebook said in November that it was working with regulators on its privacy practices.