Facebook Forced To Turn Over Internal Documents In Lawsuit Claiming Company Misused Data

The lawsuit alleges that Facebook is the "biggest violator of data misuse in the history of the software industry."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Zach Gibson / Getty Images

The lawsuit alleges that Facebook is the "biggest violator of data misuse in the history of the software industry."

The last two years have brought to light the many ways in which Facebook, one of the biggest tech giants of the 21st century, misused their users’ data and actively spread misinformation despite not being in the dark about it. Earlier this month, a bombshell report in the New York Times showed how founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, and other high executives colluded in order to not release information about their users’ data having been compromised. Not only did the report suggest that Facebook hid the breach of its users’ data from the public initially, but that even board members were informed about the company’s security assessment months after it was first known internally.

Now CNN reports that some of the most important internal security assessments that Facebook made following the 2016 U.S. presidential elections have been obtained by the British parliament despite a tooth-and-nail fight by Facebook not to let them have access to it. The handing over of the documents from Facebook comes as part of the lawsuit against it from a California-based company. Some of the documents obtained by the British parliament may contain correspondences between Zuckerberg and fellow executives. The company suing Facebook alleges that not only did Zuckerberg and other executives show a clear disregard for the privacy of Facebook users, but also that he devised a plan to derail the company’s competitors, according to owner Ted Kramer.

“We allege that Facebook itself is the biggest violator of data misuse in the history of the software industry.”

In addition, the lawsuit also mentions the Cambridge Analytica controversy, which showed that Facebook allowed third-party apps to gain access to the data of its users. Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon is reported to have used the London-based company to influence millions of American voters.

“Given the furor quite rightly surrounding the Cambridge Analytica controversy, the public has an immediate and overwhelming interest in understanding the facts surrounding Facebook’s data practices over time,” the lawsuit reads.

But the history of the company which is trying to sue Facebook is chequered itself. The company Six4Three was the creator of the controversial app “Pinkini,” which allowed its users to find images of their friends wearing bikinis. Facebook restricted data access of its users to third-party apps like Pinkini in 2015, leading the company to engage in a long legal battle with the tech giant.

“Before their case was picked up by CNN, this app’s biggest accomplishment was being named ‘one of the creepiest apps ever,” said Natalie Naugle. While that is true, new skeletons in Facebook’s closets are certain to be revealed now that internal documents it fought so hard to protect have been turned over to the British parliament.

Facebook continues to maintain that the lawsuit has no merit.