Facebook has denied contradicting itself in proof introduced to the U.Ok. parliament and a U.S. public prosecutor.
Last month the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee wrote to the corporate to lift what it mentioned had been discrepancies in proof Facebook has given to worldwide parliamentarians versus proof submitted in response to the Washington, DC Attorney General — which is suing Facebook on its house turf over the Cambridge Analytica knowledge misuse scandal.
Yesterday Bloomberg obtained Facebook’s response to the committee.
In the letter, Rebecca Stimson, the corporate’s head of U.Ok. public coverage, denies any inconsistency in proof submitted on either side of the Atlantic, writing:
The proof given to the Committees by Mike Schroepfer (Chief Technology Officer), Lord Allan (Vice President for Policy Solutions), and different Facebook representatives is totally per the allegations within the SEC Complaint filed 24 July 2019. In their proof, Facebook representatives in truth answered questions on when the corporate first realized of Aleksandr Kogan / GSR’s improper switch of knowledge to Cambridge Analytica, which was in December 2015 via The Guardian’s reporting. We are conscious of no proof to recommend that Facebook realized any earlier of that improper switch. As we have now instructed regulators, and lots of media tales have since reported, we heard hypothesis about knowledge scraping by Cambridge Analytica in September 2015. We have additionally testified publicly that we first realized Kogan bought knowledge to Cambridge Analytica in December 2015. These are two various things and this shouldn’t be new info.
Stimson goes on to assert that Facebook merely heard “rumours in September 2015 that Cambridge Analytica was promoting its ability to scrape user data from public Facebook pages.” (In statements made earlier this 12 months to the press on this similar level Facebook has additionally used the phrase “speculation” to seek advice from the inner considerations raised by its workers, writing that “employees heard speculation that Cambridge Analytica was scraping data.”)
In the most recent letter, Stimson repeats Facebook’s earlier line about knowledge scraping being frequent for public pages (which can be true, however loads of Facebook customers’ pages aren’t public to anybody aside from their hand-picked pals so… ), earlier than claiming it’s not the identical as the method by which Cambridge Analytica obtained Facebook knowledge (i.e. by paying a developer on Facebook’s platform to construct an app that harvested customers’ and customers pals’ knowledge).
“The scraping of data from public pages (which is unfortunately common for any internet service) is different from, and has no relationship to, the illicit transfer to third parties of data obtained by an app developer (which was the subject of the December 2015 Guardian article and of Facebook representatives’ evidence),” she writes, suggesting a “sketchy” knowledge modeling firm with deep Facebook platform penetration appeared like “business as usual” for Facebook administration again in 2015.
As we’ve reported earlier than, it has emerged this 12 months — through submissions to different U.S. authorized proceedings in opposition to Facebook — that workers working for its political promoting division raised inner considerations about what Cambridge Analytica was as much as in September 2015, months previous to The Guardian article which Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has claimed is the purpose when he personally realized what Cambridge Analytica was doing on his platform.
These Facebook workers described Cambridge Analytica as a “sketchy (to say the least) data modeling company that has penetrated our market deeply” — months earlier than the newspaper printed its scoop on the story, per an SEC grievance which netted Facebook a $100 million tremendous, along with the FTC’s $5 billion privateness penalty.
Nonetheless, Facebook is as soon as once more claiming there’s nothing however “rumors” to see right here.
The DCMS committee additionally queried Facebook’s flat denial to the Washington, DC Attorney General that the corporate knew of every other apps misusing consumer knowledge; did not take correct measures to safe consumer knowledge by failing to implement its personal platform coverage; and did not speak in confidence to customers when their knowledge was misused — mentioning that Facebook reps instructed it on a number of events that Facebook knew of different apps violating its insurance policies and had taken motion in opposition to them.
Again, Facebook denies any contradiction in any way right here.
“The particular allegation you cite asserts that Facebook knew of third party applications that violated its policies and failed to take reasonable measures to enforce against them,” writes Stimson. “As we have consistently stated to the Committee and elsewhere, we regularly take action against apps and developers who violate our policies. We therefore appropriately, and consistently with what we told the Committee, denied the allegation.”
So, seems, Facebook was solely flat denying a few of the allegations in para 43 of the Washington, DC Attorney General’s grievance. But the corporate doesn’t see bundling responses to a number of allegations below one blanket denial as in any manner deceptive…
In a tweet responding to Facebook’s newest denial, DCMS committee chair Damian Collins dubbed the corporate’s response “typically disingenuous” — earlier than mentioning: “They didn’t previously disclose to us concerns about Cambridge Analytica prior to Dec 2015, or say what they did about it & haven’t shared results of investigations into other Apps.”
Typically disingenuous response from @fb to @CommonsCMS letter. They didn’t beforehand speak in confidence to us considerations about Cambridge Analytica previous to Dec 2015, or say what they did about it & haven’t shared outcomes of investigations into different Apps https://t.co/kUj26BC4F5
— Damian Collins (@DamianCollins) August 12, 2019
On the app audit problem, Stimson’s letter justifies Facebook’s failure to supply the DCMS committee with the requested info on different “sketchy” apps it’s investigating, writing it is because the investigation — which CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced in a Facebook weblog submit on March 21, 2018; saying then that it might “investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information”; “conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity”; “ban any developer from our platform that does not agree to a thorough audit”; and ban any builders discovered to have misused consumer knowledge; and “tell everyone affected by those apps” — is, er, “ongoing.”
More than a 12 months in the past Facebook did reveal that it had suspended round 200 suspicious apps out of “thousands” reviewed. However, updates on Zuckerberg’s nice app audit have been skinny on the bottom since then, to say the least.
“We will update the Committee as we publicly share additional information about that extensive effort,” says Stimson now.