Facebook’s unending saga with its privacy practices continues as the social networking site’s shares tumble anew amidst an email revelation that says its founder Mark Zuckerberg is aware of some questionable privacy practices of the social networking site.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that Zuckerberg has been aware of the privacy practices even before an FTC probed on its privacy practices had been started.
The FTC launched its investigation into Facebook in 2018 following the reported massive “data harvesting” controversy brought about by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The FTC specifically wants to know if Facebook violated a consent decree that it has agreed to follow way back in 2012.
Citing people familiar to the matter, the FTC discovered that Zuckerberg asked his employees about an app that claimed to have built a database stocked with information about Facebook users.
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The database developer could display user information to others on its own site regardless of those users’ privacy settings on Facebook. A Facebook employee responded to Zuckerberg’s email and confirmed that it was indeed possible and added that it was a complicated issue which many developers have been doing. Additionally, Zuckerberg also asked if they should do anything to stop developers from displaying the collected data.
The WSJ noted that the exchanges of internal emails between Zuckerberg and his employees were sent after the FTC’s consent decree was announced but before it took effect. According to the report, if the consent has been in effect when the email exchanges took place, Zuckerberg and other senior executives clearly violated the decree. Still, Zuckerberg was already aware of the stockpiling of data according to the WSJ source.
Responding to the WSJ report, Facebook said that the company is continuing to work with the FTC and they have cooperated with the investigation. Facebook promises to continue working with the FTC and hopes to resolve the issue once and for all. Facebook said in April that it is expecting to pay up to $5 billion to settle the case.