Documents reveal Facebook gave some companies special access to user data

(Dec 5, 2018) Internal Facebook documents obtained by the U.K. Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee were released to the public Wednesday. The 250-page document highlights some of the company's internal communications between 2012 and 2015, revealing that it gave some companies special access to user data. Release of the documents has been debated during the last week and stem from a legal dispute in California. Facebook has said the documents are part of a "baseless" lawsuit and "only par... Read More

Cambridge Analytica used Facebook users' fashion preferences to send targeted political ads

(Nov 30, 2018) Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie said the data firm used Facebook users' fashion preferences to develop algorithms designed to send targeted political ads, Bloomberg reports. Wylie discussed these revelations at the Business of Fashion’s Voices conference. As an example, Wylie said Cambridge Analytica determined Facebook users who were interested in Abercrombie & Fitch were considered more liberal, while users who preferred Wrangler were deemed to lean more conservative. "... Read More

Emails show Facebook considered charging for user data access

(Nov 29, 2018) Court documents revealed internal Facebook emails where the company considered whether to charge companies to access user data, The Wall Street Journal reports. The emails were mostly dated from 2012 to 2014. Facebook employees also suggested the company should push advertisers to spend more money on increased access to the information. One Facebook employee suggested advertisers must spend at least $250,000 a year to maintain access to user data. The emails could be a view into the documents th... Read More

Facebook exec takes Zuckerberg's place at misinformation hearing

(Nov 28, 2018) Facebook Vice President for Policy Solutions Richard Allan faced questions on the social media company’s practices in a hearing on the spread of misinformation with officials from nine different countries, The New York Times reports. Officials criticized Facebook for its distribution of misinformation, its use of personal data, and for the absence of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. One official suggested Facebook may need to be broken up, while others called for tougher regulations. Allan agreed w... Read More

UK Parliament obtains internal Facebook documents on privacy

(Nov 26, 2018) U.K. Parliament has been able to obtain internal documents from Facebook that reveal privacy-related decisions made by the company, the Guardian reports. Parliament received the documents from U.S. software company Six4Three. The software company alleges the documents show Facebook knew of the implications of its privacy policy and allowed them to go unchecked, which led to the Cambridge Analytica situation. A Facebook spokesperson said Six4Three’s “claims have no merit, and we will continue to ... Read More

German state DPA issues country's first GDPR fine

(Nov 26, 2018) The data protection authority of Baden-Württemberg administered the first fine in Germany for violations of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, according to a blog post from Hogan Lovells' Chronicle of Data Protection. The DPA fined an unnamed social media provider 20,000 euros after it suffered a data breach this past summer. The social media company informed affected users of the breach and the agency of its security failings. The DPA decided to penalize the company after the agency dis... Read More

Perspective: What the FTC really needs to deal with Facebook

(Nov 20, 2018) "As the nation's foremost consumer protection agency, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is the first line of defense for consumers when it comes to privacy," Consumers Union Consumer Privacy and Technology Policy Director Justin Brookman writes. "This naturally leads to an important question: What does the FTC need to grapple with a force like Facebook?" In this post for Privacy Perspectives, Brookman, a former policy director of the FTC's Office of Technology Research and Investigation, uses re... Read More

Facebook says careful consideration would be needed to join Chinese market

(Nov 15, 2018) CNN Business reports Facebook, which has been banned in China since 2009, said that “no decisions have been made around the conditions under which any possible future service might be offered in China.” Facebook’s comments were made in written response to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee and come as internet companies wrestle with how to engage the restrictive Chinese market. The company added that as a member of the Global Network Initiative, any decision would require “rigorous human rig... Read More

Wyden reveals details of Facebook's consent decree with FTC

(Nov 13, 2018) The New York Times reports on a letter Facebook sent last month to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., about how it monitors the sharing of users' data with device makers. PricewaterhouseCoopers (now PwC), which was selected as an auditor after a U.S. Federal Trade Commission consent decree with Facebook, concluded that Facebook had "loose oversight" over those partnerships and found "limited evidence" Facebook checked partners' compliance with Facebook's data-use policy. Wyden, who recently released a draf... Read More

Romanian government accused of using GDPR to stop investigation

(Nov 12, 2018) The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project claims the Romanian government is using the EU General Data Protection Regulation to interfere with its investigation of government corruption, EUobserver reports. Romania’s data protection authority sent a letter to the OCCRP about its probe, asking the group to turn over Facebook posts that may reveal the journalists' sources. Should the group refuse the demand, it could face a daily fine of 644 euros. Chief European Commission spokesperson ... Read More