Unsealed docs in Facebook privacy suit offer glimpse of missing app audit
By Editor - Fri Sep 16, 12:57 pm
It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up… The scandal-hit company formerly known as Facebook has fought for over four years to keep a lid on the gory details of a third party app audit that its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally pledged would be carried out, back in 2018 , as he sought to buy time to purge the spreading reputational stain after revelations about data misuse went viral at the peak of the Cambridge Analytica privacy crisis. But some details are emerging nonetheless — extracted like blood from a stone via a tortuous, multi-year process of litigation-triggered legal discovery. A couple of documents filed by plaintiffs in privacy user profiling litigation in California, which were unsealed yesterday, offer details on a handful of apps Facebook audited and internal reports on what it found. The revelations provide a glimpse into the privacy-free zone Facebook was presiding over when a “ sketchy ” data company helped itself to millions of users’ data, the vast majority of whom did not know their info had been harvested for voter-targeting experiments. Two well-known companies identified in the documents as having had apps audited by Facebook as part of its third party sweep — which is referred to in the documents as ADI, aka “App Developer Investigation” — are Zynga (a games maker); and Yahoo (a media and tech firm which is also the parent entity of TechCrunch). Both firms produced apps for Facebook’s platform which, per the filings, appeared to have extensive access to users’ friends’ data, suggesting they would have been able to acquire data on far more Facebook users than had downloaded the apps themselves — including some potentially sensitive information.