MPs seize Facebook documents for fake news investigation

MPs seize Facebook documents for fake news investigation

Kerry Wise
November 29, 2018

The firm is involved in court action against Facebook in the United States, where the documents were obtained through legal procedures.

A cohort of worldwide lawmakers is trying to turn up the pressure on Facebook, grilling one of its executives and making a show of founder Mark Zuckerberg's refusal to explain to them why his company failed to protect users' data privacy.

The documents were obtained by Six4Three during a legal discovery, in which they accused Facebook of exploiting privacy loopholes.

"We allege that Facebook itself is the biggest violator of data misuse in the history of the software industry", Ted Kramer, the owner of Six4Three, the company suing Facebook, told CNN in an interview this summer.

Collins, who has not yet made the documents public, asked Allan about one item he said was of considerable public interest that suggests Facebook was alerted to possible Russian hacking years before it became a major issue.

Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg have faced intense of pressure over the social media giant's use of personal data, the spread of fake news, and, this month, that it hired a PR firm to make claims about the financier George Soros.

Facebook has stumbled from one mess to another this year as it grapples with continuing fallout from Russia's use of the platform to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election.

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Some context: Evidently, Zuckerberg's repeated refusal to answer questions (even via video link) from Collins's committee has riled its members.

Lawmakers from nine countries grilled a Facebook executive on Tuesday as part of an worldwide hearing at Britain's parliament on disinformation and "fake news".

"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".

The reason why the United Kingdom's parliament took this extraordinary step to obtain some of Facebook's most classified communication is because Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly refused to answer their questions surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Allan pleaded with Collins not to raise the material at the hearing, which MPs are entitled to do under Parliamentary privilege, "until we have further guidance from the court".

Facebook has appealed against the fine, claiming that the watchdog found no evidence that United Kingdom users' personal data had been shared inappropriately and the penalty was therefore unjustified.