ROME, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Rome prosecutors have opened an investigation into the possible violation of Italian Facebook users' privacy following a complaint by Italy's consumer rights association Codacons, local media reported Friday.
Codacons announced Thursday it sent its complaint to 104 public prosecutors' offices across Italy in the wake of the so-called "datagate" scandal, requesting they probe the U.S. social media giant for possible "illicit treatment of personal information" and "security measures omissions".
The group's move came after news broke last weekend that Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy and data mining firm with ties to U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, accessed information from 50 million Facebook users without their consent.
In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg apologized for what he said was "a breach of trust". On Thursday, the young American CEO was summoned by both the British and the European parliaments for an explanation.
"Given the worsening scandal on the misuse of personal data for electoral purposes, we decided to ask magistrates to ascertain whether any such crimes have been committed on Italian territory by Facebook or third parties linked to the social network," said Codacons President Carlo Rienzi.
If Rome prosecutors manage to bring a successful case, Zuckerberg or whoever is found responsible could face up to five years in prison under Italian law, according to Codacons.
The concern among EU leaders is that the misappropriated data of millions of social media users has been used or could be used to distort public debate and sway elections and referendums.