UK Politicians Demand Answers on Facebook’s Contradictory Evidence

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LONDON – Senior politicians in the UK accused Facebook of contradicting its own evidence about platform policy violations. Damian Collins MP, Chair of the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, wrote to the company’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, Sir Nick Clegg. He asked for clarification on some issues.

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Facebook Changing its Story?

In the letter, sent Thursday, Mr. Collins noted that Facebook denied allegations from the Washting DC Attorney General that it “knew of other third-party applications that similarly violated its Platform Policy through selling or improperly using consumer data” along with This is Your Digital Life. That app passed data to the firm Cambridge Analytica. Mr. Collins said executives such as Vice President of Policy Solutions Lord Richard Allan had confirmed the company had taken action against applications in breach of its policies. He wrote:

Multiple representatives of Facebook admitted to us on multiple occasions that the company knew of the existence of third-party applications other than ‘This is Your Digital Life’ that were in violation of platform policies.

The committee chair added that evidence obtained from software firm Six4Threee “demonstrates the lax treatment of abusive apps and their developers by Facebook.”  Six4Three launched legal proceedings against Facebook. Its founder gave the committee those documents. Mr. Collins concluded by asking Sir Nick to “confirm the truthfulness” of evidence its executives gave to his committee.

More Political Pressure

The letter was a further sign of the political pressure being applied to Facebook. In November 2018, a committee of politicians from around the world questioned Lord Allan in the UK Parliament. They criticized Mark Zuckerberg for not appearing in front of them. Mr. Zuckerberg did appear in front of U.S. and European lawmakers.

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