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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 Raises Questions Over EU Ruling on Removing Content

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a "very troubling precedent"

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FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Facebook has raised objections over the European Union (EU) ruling that the bloc’s member countries can not only order the removal of content in their own jurisdiction, but all over the world.

According to the social networking giant, the ruling opens the door for courts to order the removal of content that is similar to the illegal speech, “meaning that something you posted might be removed even if you knew nothing about the earlier post that a European country had deemed illegal”.

“Imagine something you wrote and shared on Facebook was taken down, not because it violated our rules, and not because it broke the law in your country, but because someone was able to use different laws in another country to have it removed,” Monika Bickert, VP, Global Policy Management at Facebook, said in a statement on Monday.

“Imagine as well that your speech was deemed illegal not by a judge who carefully weighed the facts, but by automated tools and technology,” she added.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Facebook can be forced to remove content internationally.

The ruling arose from a personal defamation case brought by an Austrian politician.

The post in question shared a news article in which the Austrian politician had outlined her and her party’s views on immigration, together with a comment from a Facebook user strongly critiquing the Austrian politician.

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An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

The court’s ruling raises critical questions for freedom of expression, in two key respects, said Bickert.

First, it undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on another country.

“This is especially important with laws governing speech, because what is legally acceptable varies considerably in different parts of the world and even within the EU. The ruling also opens the door for other countries around the world, including non-democratic countries who severely limit speech, to demand the same power,” said Facebook.

Second, the ruling might lead to a situation in which private internet companies could be forced to rely on automated technologies to police and remove “equivalent” illegal speech.

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In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a “very troubling precedent”.

“We have had precedents but we have successfully fought them. This is one where a lot of the details of exactly how this gets implemented are going to depend on national courts across Europe, and what they define as the same content versus roughly equivalent content.

“This is something we and other services will be litigating and getting clarity on what this means. I know we talk about free expression as a value and I thought this was a fairly troubling development,” Zuckerberg added. (IANS)