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Social Media Giant Facebook Sues South Korean Firm Over Data Misuse

Federal prosecutors in the US are now probing whether top executives of Facebook were aware of data harvesting by the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Battling the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook has now filed a lawsuit in California state court against Rankwave, a South Korean data analytics company that ran apps on its platform.

The lawsuit alleged that Rankwave abused Facebook’s developer platform’s data and refused to cooperate with a mandatory compliance audit and request to delete the data.

“Facebook was investigating Rankwave’s data practices in relation to its advertising and marketing services.

“Rankwave failed to cooperate with our efforts to verify their compliance with our policies, which we require of all developers using our platform,” Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation said in a statement on late Friday.

She added that Facebook has already suspended apps and accounts associated with Rankwave.

“The lawsuit asks the court to enforce the basic cooperation terms that Rankwave agreed to in exchange for the opportunity to operate apps on the platform,” Romero noted.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook’s lawsuit centres around Rankwave offering to help businesses build a Facebook authorization step into their apps so they can pass all the user data to Rankwave.

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FILE – A 3D printed Facebook logo is seen in front of a displayed Russian flag in this photo illustration, Aug. 3, 2018. VOA

“It then analyzes biographic and behavioural traits to supply user contact info and ad targeting assistance to the business,” the report said.

“That app could pull data about your Facebook activity such as location checkins, determine that you’ve checked into a baseball stadium, and then Rankwave could help its clients target you with ads for baseball tickets,” the report noted.

Rankwave’s Android app asks for users’ Facebook data in exchange for providing them a “Social Influencer Score”.

“By filing the lawsuit, we are sending a message to developers that Facebook is serious about enforcing our policies, including requiring developers to cooperate with us during an investigation,” said the social network giant.

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Facebook recently announced to ban personality quiz apps on its platform — a move taken after the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year that helped researchers access personal information of 87 million users via the quiz app “thisisyourdigitallife”.

Federal prosecutors in the US are now probing whether top executives of Facebook were aware of data harvesting by the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. (IANS)

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Facebook to Launch its Cryptocurrency Next Year: Report

According to Zuckerberg, Blockchain could give users more powers when granting data access to third-party apps

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is gearing up to launch its own cryptocurrency next year, the BBC reported on Friday.

Called “GlobalCoin,” the cryptocurrency would work with a new digital payments system in about a dozen countries starting in the first quarter of 2020.

Facebook has been in contact with US and British financial regulators to launch it.

According to the BBC, Facebook is in touch with “Bank of England governor Mark Carney and officials at the US Treasury”.

With over two billion users across its platforms, Facebook could emulate WeChat in China which allows its users to chat, shop and play games without leaving its platform.

The Facebook cryptocurrency would need to overcome numerous technical and regulatory hurdles before it can be launched.

According to media reports, the Facebook currency could be designed to be a “stablecoin” with a value pegged to US currency in an attempt to minimize volatility.

A report last week said Facebook has reportedly set up a company called Libra Networks in Switzerland that is developing payments and Blockchain systems for the social networking giant.

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Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. Wikimedia Commons

According to a report in CNET quoting Swiss publication Handelszeitung, the Facebook cyrptocurrency would be tied to the US dollar and could, therefore, remain stable unlike Bitcoin which has crashed.

“Facebook set up Libra Networks in Geneva several weeks ago. Libra is the social network’s internal project name for the digital currency,” the report said.

The Swiss company would focus on developing the software and hardware for currency-related functions like payments, Blockchain, analytics, big data and identity management.

Facebook declined to comment on the new report.

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According to a report in The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, the social media giant is “recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants” towards its cryptocurrency-based system that would use a digital coin similar to Bitcoin.

The New York Times reported in February that Facebook had a team of 50 people working on its virtual currency project.

In a public interview with Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain in February, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he is “potentially interested” in putting the Facebook login on the Blockchain technology.

According to Zuckerberg, Blockchain could give users more powers when granting data access to third-party apps. (IANS)