Business Briefs – March 25, 2018

Facebook Ads Apologize for Cambridge Analytica Scandal

NEW YORK (AP) – Facebook’s CEO apologized for the Cambridge Analytica scandal with ads in multiple U.S. and British newspapers Sunday, saying the social media platform doesn’t deserve to hold personal information if it can’t protect it.

The ads signed by Mark Zuckerberg said a quiz app built by a Cambridge University researcher leaked Facebook data of millions of people four years ago. “This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” the ads said.

Facebook’s privacy practices have come under fire after Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm affiliated with President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, got data inappropriately. The firm is alleged to have created psychological profiles to influence how people vote or even think about politics and society.

Facebook’s stock value has dropped more than $70 billion since the revelations were first published.

Among the newspapers with the ads were The New York Times and The Washington Post in the U.S. and The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph in the United Kingdom.

UK Data Watchdog Raids Cambridge Analytica Office in London

LONDON (AP) – Officers from Britain’s information regulator have arrived at the London offices of data firm Cambridge Analytica after being granted a warrant as part of an investigation into alleged misuse of personal information. A High Court judge granted the warrant Friday evening. Soon after, 18 people, some in Information Commissioner’s Office jackets, entered the company’s central London offices.

Lobbying Pays Off for Small Drugmaker in Budget Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) – A provision tucked into the massive congressional budget bill will benefit a small pharmaceutical company in Washington state. Omeros makes a drug for cataract surgery. The provision props up the price Medicare pays for that drug, as well as a handful of products from other firms. Lawmakers acted after a lobbying campaign by Omeros and stepped-up political contributions from people associated with the company. House Speaker Paul Ryan said through a spokeswoman the provision is “correct policy.”

Shares of Dropbox Surge In First Day of Trading

NEW YORK (AP) – Shares of digital storage company Dropbox have surged in their first day of trading. The company, which offers online services for backing up files, saw its shares jump 36 percent. Dropbox competes with smaller rival Box, as well as with Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

A Swan-Song for Toys R Us, the Going-Out-of-Business Sale

NEW YORK (AP) – Toys R Us is opening its doors for a going-out-of-business sale, offering clearance discounts at all 735 U.S. stores, including Babies R Us. The company did not say Friday how big the discounts will be or when it expects stores to shut down. Customers will be able to use gift cards until April 21, but the toy seller will no longer accept coupons, and there are no returns.