March 23, 2018 / 5:49 AM / 8 months ago

Facebook dropped from Australian Ethical ETF after data breach

A figurine is seen in front of the Facebook logo in this illustration taken March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc will be removed from the Australia-based BetaShares Global Sustainability Leaders Exchange Traded Fund (ETHI) due to recent “controversies”, its Responsible Investment Committee (RIC) said on Friday.

"The company has in recent times been the subject of a number of controversies and reputational issues," the committee said in a statement here

The world’s largest social media network, with more than 2 billion monthly active users, is under scrutiny following allegations that British political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed users’ data and helped influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg apologized on Wednesday, five days after the scandal broke, and promised to restrict developers’ access to such information.

The company, which has lost more than $50 billion in market value since allegations this week, ended over 2.6 percent lower on Thursday.

Facebook comprises 3.9 percent of the ETHI portfolio, the Australian ethical fund that has $170 million in funds under management.

Reporting by Vishal Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates

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