The private emails could contradict the testimony of the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, about when Facebook became aware of the data breach by Cambridge Analytica.
The social media giant and the Attorney General of Washington DC are discussing a string of internal messages that would show Facebook employees discussing the Cambridge Analytica data collection scandal in September 2015. These so-called emails have arrived months Before Facebook knew that Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm founded by Donald Trump’s sponsors, was gathering information about millions of Facebook users without their knowledge.
Facebook and the Attorney General will appear on Friday in court to see if these emails can be seen by the public. If they are not sealed, their content could contradict the sworn testimony that Zuckerberg made to Congress last year. This is part of a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Karl Racine, accusing Facebook of not protecting the user’s data.
In December 2015, Facebook would have learned about Cambridge Analytica transactions at the same time as the public. That’s when The Guardian announced that Republican Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign was using psychological profiles compiled from tens of millions of personal Facebook information.
The data was extracted by the former psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan using a personality questionnaire. Kogan then sold the data to Cambridge Analytica, which hired him as an entrepreneur in 2014.
“The general public has little or no interest in this document that could justify exposing Facebook to the risks that would inevitably accompany disclosure.”
Subsequent disclosures, including an informant’s statements in 2018, showed that Kogan’s application had exploited a feature of Facebook’s architecture that also allowed him to collect personal information about his users’ friends. According to Facebook estimates, up to 87 million users may have seen their information erased.
The terms of service of the application made it clear to users that Kogan intended to “edit, copy, distribute, publish, transfer, complement or merge with other databases, sell, to license (by any means) and to archive their data Contribution and data The terms of service were delivered to Facebook during the application approval process, but it was later admitted that they never read the language, and friends of the users of the application have not received any information.
“When Facebook learned that Kogan had violated Facebook’s data usage rules in December 2015, we immediately took action,” Zuckerberg told Congress last year. “The company hired an outside company to investigate Kogan’s actions, to demand that Kogan and all parties with whom it shares data delete the data and its derivatives, as well as the certifications they have made.”
But the office of the Attorney General of Canada claims to have documents to the contrary. On Monday, the office submitted a request to unblock the September 2015 e-mails, which were purportedly intended to show Facebook employees based in the US. UU They expressed concern about Cambridge Analytica.
“A Washington-based Facebook employee warned the company that Cambridge Analytica was” [redacted] “and asked other Facebook employees to” deport “and received responses indicating that the Cambridge Analytica company’s data collection practices It were “written” with the policy of the Facebook platform. ” Read the redacted movement to lift the seal.
Facebook opposed the disclosure of the content of the emails and will go to court on Friday afternoon to ask if the emails will be made public.
“The document contains confidential business information about the” internal functioning “of Facebook’s activities that should be protected from disclosure,” writes Facebook in a motion opposing the publication of the email. Making it public “could provide competitors with valuable information about how Facebook works, and the general public has little or no interest in this document that could justify Facebook being exposed to the risks that would inevitably accompany disclosure.”
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The company told the Guardian that the emails related to another incident related to Cambridge Analytica, not to the crime reported in December 2015.
“In September 2015, employees heard rumors that Cambridge Analytica would collect data, which unfortunately is common for all Internet services,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “In December 2015, we learned in the media that Kogan had sold data to Cambridge Analytica and we acted.” They were two different things.
This is a typical response to the scandalous approach of the company, saying that email should be confidential because it is a so-called completely different data spill, designed by a researcher in psychology, but directly by Cambridge. Analytica – that society has tried to hide.
“Facebook has not publicly disseminated the document or its contents and, given its confidentiality, has asked government agencies or entities that receive the document to guarantee respect for their confidentiality,” the company writes in its letter.
A.’s motion accuses Facebook of “trying to avoid publicly announcing the frank evaluations of its employees about how multiple third parties have violated Facebook’s policies.”
The battle around the document is just one of the fronts of a long war between Facebook and several governments. In the United Kingdom, the company faces a similar investigation to determine whether it violates user privacy. The UK has stricter laws on the misuse of data, which suggests more serious consequences for Facebook if it turns out that user information has been neglected. Last July, the UK imposed fines on Facebook for £ 500,000 (approximately $ 660,000) after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook is currently appealing the decision.
British lawmaker Damian Collins, who led his country’s complaint on Facebook, suggested that emails from September 2015 could mean the company was misleading in its testimony before the UK Parliament.
“This important new information could suggest that Facebook has constantly tricked @CommonsCMS about what it knew and Cambridge Analytica,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
Last week, Kogan filed a defamation lawsuit against Facebook, accusing the company of using it as a scapegoat, while falsely claiming that his application had been approved with false pretenses.
“Instead of accepting the uncomfortable lights of the spotlights and taking responsibility for the mistakes he may have made, Facebook went into” public relations crisis mode “and quickly took Dr. Kogan as a convenient scapegoat,” he complains of the Kogan’s complaint.
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