The UK Government has seized internal documentation from social media behemoth Facebook as part of its investigation into data breaches and election tampering carried out by Cambridge Analytica using the company's platform, following repeated refusals by founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to attend Parliament for questioning.
As reported by The Guardian, which broke news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the company abused Facebook's platform to gather considerable data on voters so they could be targeted with misleading political advertising ahead of votes on events including leaving the European Union and electing Donald Trump as US president, Damian Collins of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) has seized internal Facebook documentation which the company is now fighting to keep private.
Collins' seizure, however, did not take place against Facebook itself; rather, the documents have been seized from US software development company Six4Three after having been obtained as part of the discovery process in a lawsuit against Facebook. The documentation, Six4Three alleges, shows that the social media company was both fully aware of the implications of its lax privacy measures and actively exploited them itself - going so far as to claim the documentation contains evidence that the loophole exploited by Cambridge Analytica to gather vast quantities of user data without explicit permission was created intentionally.
Facebook, as is to be expected, is unimpressed: The company has written to Collins and Parliament asking that the documentation is placed off-limits and returned to the company, having been already the subject of a protective order by the San Mateo Superior Court.
'We have very serious questions for Facebook. It misled us about Russian involvement on the platform. And it has not answered our questions about who knew what, when with regards to the Cambridge Analytica scandal,' Collins told the Guardian following the seizure. 'We have followed this court case in America and we believed these documents contained answers to some of the questions we have been seeking about the use of data, especially by external developers.'
Facebook has not issued comment on the contents of the documentation, beyond a claim that Six4Three's case is without merit.
January 24 2020 | 12:00